What is Bark Chips?

Bark chips, also known as bark mulch or wood chips, are a popular landscaping material used to cover the soil surface in gardens, parks, and other outdoor spaces. They are made from the bark of various trees, such as pine, cedar, or cypress, which is shredded or chipped into small pieces. Bark chips offer several benefits, including weed suppression, moisture retention, and soil insulation. In this article, we will explore the uses, advantages, and types of bark chips in detail.

Uses of Bark Chips

Bark chips have a wide range of uses in landscaping and gardening. One of the primary uses is as a ground cover in flower beds, vegetable gardens, and around trees and shrubs. They help to suppress weed growth by blocking sunlight and preventing weed seeds from germinating. Additionally, bark chips provide insulation to the soil, protecting plant roots from extreme temperatures and reducing water evaporation.

Bark chips can also be used as a decorative element in outdoor spaces. They add texture and visual interest to garden beds, pathways, and playgrounds. The natural color and texture of bark chips create a rustic and organic look, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of the landscape.

Advantages of Bark Chips

There are several advantages to using bark chips in landscaping and gardening:

1. Weed Suppression: Bark chips create a physical barrier that prevents weed growth by blocking sunlight and inhibiting weed seed germination. This reduces the need for manual weeding and helps to maintain a clean and tidy garden.

2. Moisture Retention: Bark chips act as a natural mulch, helping to retain moisture in the soil. They reduce water evaporation, which is especially beneficial in dry climates or during periods of drought. This can result in water savings and reduced irrigation needs.

3. Soil Insulation: Bark chips provide insulation to the soil, protecting plant roots from extreme temperatures. They help to keep the soil cool in hot weather and prevent frost damage during winter months.

4. Erosion Control: Bark chips help to prevent soil erosion by reducing the impact of heavy rain or wind. They create a protective layer on the soil surface, preventing the loss of topsoil and preserving the integrity of the landscape.

5. Organic Matter: As bark chips break down over time, they contribute organic matter to the soil. This improves soil structure, fertility, and nutrient availability, promoting healthy plant growth.

Types of Bark Chips

There are different types of bark chips available, depending on the tree species and processing methods used:

1. Pine Bark Chips: Pine bark chips are one of the most common types of bark chips. They are typically reddish-brown in color and have a fibrous texture. Pine bark chips are known for their durability and ability to resist decomposition, making them a long-lasting option for landscaping.

2. Cedar Bark Chips: Cedar bark chips have a reddish-brown color and a pleasant aroma. They are resistant to decay and have natural insect-repelling properties, making them a popular choice for areas where pest control is a concern.

3. Cypress Bark Chips: Cypress bark chips are light brown in color and have a stringy texture. They are known for their natural resistance to decay and insect infestation. Cypress bark chips are often used in areas where moisture retention is a priority.

4. Mixed Bark Chips: Mixed bark chips are a blend of different tree barks, offering a combination of colors and textures. They provide a diverse and visually appealing ground cover option for landscaping projects.


In summary, bark chips are a versatile and beneficial landscaping material. They offer weed suppression, moisture retention, soil insulation, erosion control, and contribute organic matter to the soil. With different types available, such as pine, cedar, cypress, and mixed bark chips, there is a suitable option for every landscaping project. Consider using bark chips in your garden or outdoor space to enhance its appearance and improve plant health.