Red mulch is still relatively rare, although it’s becoming more common. It’s a wood product mulch that’s been colored to appear more attractive. The bed is generally very bright, making the red mulch quite striking to the eye. However, there are god points and bad points about using red mulch and it pays to be aware of both before putting it in your garden.
There’s no doubt that red mulch attracts the eye. It can make a bed or border stand out, and it’s especially effective on pathways. The bright red against the green of grass or foliage can be very effective and attractive.
It needs to be deep enough on a path, about 1 1/2 inches deep in order to achieve the best effect. Over time the red dye in the mulch will fade as it’s bleached by the sun and diluted by the rain and snow. This means that you need to replace the red mulch periodically in order to keep the color strong and maintain the effect. The downside is that the dye in the mulch will be leaching into the soil.
The biggest problem involved with red mulch is the dye that provides its color. In some cases this might be a safe vegetable dye, but mostly it will be a chemical dye. Using chemicals in the garden is always a tricky balancing act, and adding to them with a chemical red can simply make things more dangerous.
The fact that the instructions on red mulch indicate it shouldn’t be used on flower beds or vegetable beds tells you a great deal. It means that it’s not safe around these things. If it’s not safe there should you trust it in the rest of your garden? That’s especially true if your pets or children use the garden. Do you want that around these chemicals?
Red mulch costs more than regular mulch. That’s because of the extra step involved in coloring the mulch. You’re paying a great deal more simply to have the novelty effect of the red mulch. Unless you really want the drama the color can add, you need to ask yourself whether it’s worth the extra expense, especially as you can only use it in certain parts of the garden.
If you choose to use red mulch in your garden you need to be very careful where you put it. That limits its use. You also need to keep it clear of pets and animals, which can be virtually impossible in the average backyard. For the safety of your family you should keep the red mulch clear of areas where it people can come in contact with it.
For purely decorative purposes red mulch has its place, although it will need a great deal of work so it can keep looking its best. If you keep it stored somewhere, statistics show that it’s particularly tasty to rats, so you’ll have a problem with vermin and need to keep it away from other areas.