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Does Mulch Contain Fertilizer?

Does Mulch Contain Fertilizer?

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Mulch is incredibly beneficial to your garden. It keeps weeds and harmful insects away while retaining the soil’s moisture. It can also supply your plants with nutrients. So, does mulch have fertilizer?

Mulch doesn’t contain fertilizer. While organic mulch can nourish your garden, it won’t be enough to replace fertilizer.

Do you want to find out more? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about mulch as a fertilizer, when, and how to use it. Let’s dive in!

Does Mulch Have Fertilizer?

Mulch and fertilizer are entirely different things. Though, they’re equally important. The main purpose of fertilizer is to supply plants with essential nutrients and support their growth.

Well, mulch can also help plants grow, which is why many beginner gardeners believe it contains fertilizer. Yet, mulch assists the healthy growth of plants by protecting them from the elements.

Simply put, mulch is crucial for the following reasons:

  • Reduces the evaporation of water, making it crucial in drought-prone areas.
  • Regulates the temperature of the soil during sunny and snowy days.
  • Supplies the soil with essential nutrients.
  • Improves the soil’s aeration and ability to hold water.
  • Improves the overall quality of the soil.

There’s no denying that mulch can improve your garden and help your plants grow. Yet, it doesn’t contain nearly as many nutrients as fertilizers, nor does it eliminate the need for fertilizers.

How to Fertilize Your Garden With Mulch

If you want to reduce how often you fertilize your garden, choosing the right mulch might do the trick. By keeping the soil moist and giving it some nutrients, the plants will have optimal health, decreasing the amount of fertilizers they might need.

Here are the best types of mulch that might substitute fertilizers in the short term:

Grass Clippings

It might seem counterproductive to clip your grass only to add it on top of your lawn again. Yet, grass clippings are ideal for mulching and fertilizing your garden.

Grass clippings will quickly break down into the soil, turning into beneficial nutrients. If the grass clippings are too long, you can rake them off and mulch them elsewhere as they take longer to compost.

Gardening is hard work. For this reason, grass clippings can be life savers, especially for lazy gardeners. After mowing your lawn, leave the clippings as they are, and they’ll do the work for you.


Compost is an excellent, affordable fertilizer. Fortunately, it can also double as mulch. Mulching with compost is an ideal way to forgo fertilizers completely.

This is only natural as all mulch composts into the soil eventually. So, why not use compost as mulch from the get-go?

Instead of using compost periodically when your plants need fertilizing, use it as mulch by spreading it onto your lawn.

Mulching with compost creates an exceptional environment for the soil. Not only is compost a potent fertilizer, but it also promotes the growth of earthworms, which help aerate the soil.

Pine Needles

Pine needles make excellent plant food. The best part is that pine needle mulch lasts for a long time.

As the mulch slowly degrades, the needles release nutrients into the soil. The amount of nutrients might be small, yet this ensures your plants are constantly nourished.

You don’t need to be a gardening expert to use pine needles as mulch. When the needles fall, they’re ready to be used as mulch. There’s no need for curing or aging them.

All you have to do is lay two to three inches of pine needles around your garden, and you’ll be set!

Other Tips to Get the Most Benefits Out of Mulch

How you mulch your lawn can also affect how often you fertilize it. Even if you’re using synthetic mulch that has absolutely no nutrients, the following tips can significantly help your plants grow:

  • Water your lawn thoroughly before you mulch.
  • Spread the mulch about six inches away from the base of trees and shrubs to prevent mold and other diseases.
  • Don’t overapply mulch, as it can suffocate the roots and keep air and nutrients from reaching the soil.
  • Turn your mulch at least once a month to prevent your soil from turning acidic.

Final Thoughts

Does mulch have fertilizer?

Though mulch is a great way for your garden to get extra nutrients, it doesn’t contain fertilizer.

Most mulch is made of organic material. As it composts, some nutrients are released into the soil.

Mulch also helps your plants in numerous other ways. It aids with soil aeration, water retention, and keeping weeds and pathogens away.

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