What to Do With Old Mulch: 6 Ways to Recycle Your Old Mulch

by | Jun 28, 2024 | Mulching

Mulch is an integral part of gardening, helping to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and maintain the temperature of the soil. However, due to the change in seasons, many gardeners will find themselves wondering what to do with old mulch. As part of our evergreen series, we explore the best ways to recycle old mulch.

Types of Mulch

The way you deal with old mulch may vary depending on its type. Broadly speaking, the types of mulch are organic and inorganic.

Organic Mulch

  • Wood Chips and Bark: Ideally used in flower beds and around trees, these materials break down slowly and add organic matter to the soil.
  • Straw and Hay: Ideally used in the vegetable garden, decomposing reasonably quickly and enriching the soil.
  • Grass clippings: Grass clippings also decompose quickly and add nitrogen to the soil.
  • Leaves: The shredded leaves provide a nutrient-dense mulch that will break down slowly.

Inorganic Mulch

  • Gravel and Stone: These permanent mulches don’t break down. They dispense with weed control and offer visual appeal as well.
  • Rubber Mulch: This is derived from the recycling of old tires and is very long-lasting. For that reason, it is ideal for covering playgrounds and heavy-traffic areas.

Ways of Reusing Old Mulch

When your mulch has seen better days, don’t be so quick to just throw it out after you’ve replaced it. Here are some ways you can repurpose that old mulch.

Wood Chips and Bark

If the wood chips or bark have rotted, turn them in as a soil loosener. If they are still in good condition, simply push them aside and lay down a fresh layer.

Straw and Hay

Compost old straw and hay for a nutrient-rich soil. Or, use it to top dress garden beds in the winter for insulation.

Grass Clippings

Add old grass clippings to your compost pile or use them as mulch around plants. Be sure they are not matted down, as this can create a barrier to water.


Mix decomposed shredded leaves into garden soil to improve the nutrient content. Shred whole leaves before using them as mulch to prevent matting.

Gravel and Stone

Reuse gravel and stone mulches elsewhere in your garden. Clean these and transfer them to new locations, preferably on paths or borders, to enhance the appeal in those areas.

Rubber Mulch

A mulch made of rubber is very durable. Clean it and redistribute it to a new surface, such as on children’s playgrounds or heavily trafficked paths in your garden.

The Final Verdict

What should be done with the old mulch depends on its type and how much it has decomposed. For professional service, Mulch Pros is your top landscape supply in Cumming. Contact us today to get a top-quality mulch product and get expert advice regarding the application.

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