Bark Mulch Vs. Rock Mulch

Looking to update your curb appeal and flower beds? Can’t decide on what mulch to choose? There are obvious – and not so obvious – differences between rock and bark mulch. The obvious? One is a rock and one comes from the bark of a tree.

Bark Mulch

Bark mulch is a great affordable way to spruce up your flower beds and yard. Bark mulch is easy to install, and can be done with a simple shovel! This type of mulch also reduces water evaporation (which can make trees grow faster) and is great for the overall health of your flower beds! The downside to bark mulch is that it rots over time and needs to be replaced. The fee of replacing bark mulch. and having to purchase it over and over can make this cheaper alternative more expensive in the long run. If you live a climate that has heavy rainfall or is very windy, you may find it difficult to keep the mulch in place as it may wash or blow away.

Rock Mulch

Rock mulch is much more expensive than bark mulch but does not have to be replaced over time. This mulch will last for years and stay looking new! Rock mulch is generally seen as more aesthetically pleasing than bark mulch. It is much heavier than bark so you need to be prepared when moving it. Rock mulch does raise soil temperatures and therefore provides no soil benefit. Another great reason to choose rock mulch is that it is fireproof, meaning it will not catch fire as bark mulch would.


Rock mulch is significantly more expensive than bark mulch but does not have to be replaced frequently. Bark mulch needs to be replaced periodically, which makes it the more expensive of the two.


Both mulches have very different aesthetics making it difficult for some homeowners and business owners to choose. Both mulches come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, so there are plenty of options to choose from. When choosing mulch, it is also good to keep in mind the environment you are putting it in. Does the area have a lot of foot traffic or drainage problems? If so, it would be very important to choose rock because it can withstand the wear and tear. However, bark mulch would be more suited for an area hardly touched such as a corner of a backyard!

Our team at Hydro-Tech Irrigation is ready to help you maintain your beautiful yard and mulch!

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