Talk to any gardening or landscaping professional about how to better take care of your garden, they will most likely say something about mulch. But when you head to your local landscape supply store, you’ll find a variety of different types of mulch, each with their own unique benefits, and of course, price. Whether you’re looking to conserve water or simply want to refresh the aesthetics of your garden bed, mulch is an essential component.

At Kern Turf Supply in Bakersfield, we provide a range of mulch options and we are happy to help you select which will provide the most benefits for your garden or landscape. But to give you a head start, here are some basics of mulch materials and how to use it.

Types of Mulch Material

Wood Chips

One of the most common types of mulch, you can easily find this at your local landscaping store in bulk or smaller bags, depending on your needs. A significant benefit of this material is that it is long-lasting and inexpensive.

Shredded Bark

Also known as “gorilla hair” mulch, this is best used around non-native trees or shrubs or on slopes or hills. Shredded bark isn’t as readily available as wood chips, and they decompose faster, but they provide an attractive aesthetic.


Also an inexpensive option, straw decomposes quickly into the soil and is a great mulch for vegetable gardens. A significant benefit of straw is that it provides temperature control, which is important in the Bakersfield heat. However, they may have weed seeds, so if you can, look for a certified weed-free variety.


A benefit of this material is that it could be free if you use fallen leaves from your own lawn. Leaves can be used under native trees or shrubs, but be wary of them containing pesticides, fungal spores, and other diseases.

Grass Clippings

This material is also great for vegetable gardens, grass is inexpensive, and decompose quickly. However, they also might have traces of pesticides and disease.

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Why Use Mulch?

  • Adds organic matter to the soil.
  • Helps retain moisture.
  • Helps regulate temperature.
  • Prevents weeds from growing.
  • Prevents nutrients from leaching out of the soil.
  • Creates a clean aesthetic.

Quick Tips on Using Mulch

  • Use a layer of between two and three inches.
  • Spread it out evenly.
  • Apply mulch in either the late spring or early fall.
  • Fallen leaves from trees and bushes can become mulch, so it’s best to leave them there.
  • Consider leaving a few patches mulch free to provide space for bees or soil loving insects.
  • Don’t use plastics or weed cloth below the mulch to prevent affecting the biology of the soil.

If you’re looking to add some mulch to your lawn or garden, come by Kern Turf Supply. We have two locations in Bakersfield and our knowledgeable staff is more than happy to discuss the benefits of mulching, the various types, how to use it, and more! Spring is a great time to put some work into your lawn, and our landscape supply store has just what you need.