At Oaklawn, we manage the maintenance of both commercial and residential properties, which have some significant differences. Commercial properties are expansive, requiring a careful combination of services to keep them pristine. Residential properties are much smaller, yet attention to detail is a must. However, there is one landscape material that you will find on both property types no matter where you look. Mulch is likely the most prominent landscaping material, found in almost every plant bed. This is because it provides undisputed benefits with little drawback. There are two primary types of mulch, organic and inorganic. Often property owners are faced with a decision between the two. We hope to shed some light on the differences between organic and inorganic mulches and help you in your selection.

freshly mulched flower bed

Organic Mulch: The Benefits

If mulch is the most prominent landscaping material, then organic mulch varieties are the most iconic. Typical options include bark, pine straw, or even wood chips. The primary benefit of these organic mulch varieties is that they decompose over time, adding organic matter to your soil, which is then used as a nutrient. Another important benefit of organic mulch is moisture retention, keeping more in the soil for plant material to utilize. Organic mulch will also insulate your soil from heat and cold in a similar fashion, additionally acting as a barrier to weeds. It will also prevent your soil from eroding.

Organic Mulch: The Downside

While mulch itself does not really have a huge downside, there are some drawbacks to organic mulch in comparison to its inorganic counterparts. The primary drawback is that organic mulch will need to be replaced every couple of years, while inorganic mulch is typically some sort of rock, which can last for decades.

Inorganic Mulch: The Benefits

Organic mulch is surely more recognizable as mulch, but stone and rock are also commonly used as inorganic mulch options. They provide all the same benefits, from preventing soil erosion to preventing weed growth. The biggest benefit of inorganic mulch is durability, as the longevity of stone and rock is unbeaten. Inorganic mulches can also look classy, as there are a ton of colors, shapes, and sizes to choose from in the rock category. They can be more aesthetically pleasing than organic mulch, which is often very basic. Inorganic mulch is also sustainable, saving you maintenance and resources.

Inorganic Mulch: The Downside

The biggest downside of inorganic mulch is that it does not degrade into organic matter for your soil. Because of the hardness of the rock and stone, inorganic mulch may sometimes keep nutrients from reaching the soil, which can be problematic. Overall, that is the biggest difference between the two types of mulch, and what you should consider when you make your mulch decision.


Your landscaping is the first thing noticed by your visitors, friends, and customers. Let OakLawn Landscaping ensure that your first impressions are top notch and have your guests in awe before they even reach the door. Visit our website, or contact us today at (301) 854-0684 for any of your landscaping needs, commercial or residential.

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