Best Mulch To Avoid Termites In Your Yard

Best Mulch To Avoid Termites In Your Yard

Since termites can destroy your landscaping and garden, it’s essential you have a mulch that protects it.

Mulch made with termite-resistant plants can help you achieve your landscaping goals without causing damage to its natural beauty.

Some types of mulches are sand bark mulches.

Cedar and pine bark mulches help keep your gardening plants healthy while discouraging termites.

Does Mulch Attract Termites?

Before we get into what mulches attract termites, let’s cover the basics on how termites affect landscapes and gardens.

Knowing about these mulches can protect you from termite damage in your garden.

Termite-attracting mulches include either sand or wood-based mulches.

Both of these circumstances attract and feed subterranean termites.

As you are aware, choosing the right or wrong kind of naturally occurring mulch for your garden can have extreme effects on your plants and even your landscaping.

Softwood Mulch

Except for one, which you’ll soon learn about, all of the other mulchs are made from softwood.

Softwood mulches are rich in cellulose and cornstarch and are very attractive to subterranean termites.

Firewood mulch and various varieties of pine wood mulch, including pine bark and wood chips, all are softwoods.

If you use these two mulches, you can expect to see an influx of termites into your landscape and garden.

Termites will have an open invitation to dig tunnels all over your garden and landscaping.

Pine Bark Mulch

Termites are attracted specifically to pine bark mulch and wood chips, both of which contain high quantities of cellulose and cornstarch.

However, bear in mind that termites also are attracted to most other softwoods, such as pine bark, fire wood and wood chips.

It gives them a location to feed and lay their eggs near the foundations of your home and landscaping.

Despite their low cellulose content, these other softwoods do not have the same appeal as pine bark mulch does to termites.

Termites will utilize pine straw mulch and pine bark mulch to burrow holes into gardens and establish colonies.

Furthermore, both contain high nitrogen levels, so these mulches are also ideal for promoting plant growth.

Pine Straw Mulch

Termites stay away to a large extent from hardwood mulch and from organic mulches, making them ideal for use in landscaping and on garden paths and walkways.

However, pine straw mulch holds the potential to be irresistible to termites.

A wet soil with pine straw mulch is also a magnet for subterranean termites in particular, because they feed from dead tree branches and stumps.

It forces termites to burrow deep into this mulch-rich soil to establish colonies or gain access to moisture and other food sources.

Termites construct tunnels through the pine straw mulch and into the surrounding soil.

Termites travel through these tunnels until they reach moist soil or a water source to feed on.

Furthermore, many individuals overlook the fact that wood mulches such as pine straw mulch attract termites as well.

Best Mulch To Avoid Termites

Redwood Mulch

Redwood mulch is the only softwood that does not have cellulose or a high nitrogen content to enhance plant growth.

Redwood mulch also supplies no nutrients to plants and is so dense that it does not allow moisture to escape.

Redwood mulch deteriorates and loses some of its initial color after a few months and can only be recycled or composted after four to five years.

As a result, it does not have the lifespan of hardwood or hardwood bark mulch.

However, it is far more expensive than other mulches due to relatively high production costs and low demand.

Licorice Root Mulch

Licorice root mulch is made from the roots of the perennial plant Glycyrrhiza glabra or licorice plant.

The licorice tree is valued for its ability to control soil erosion and provide erosion control, moisture retention and weed control in infertile soil.

It arrived in the New World with the colonists and was first grown as an ornamental, then as a medicinal plant and finally for its forage value as cattle feed.

Because of its anti-artillery fungal properties, the licorice plant began to be grown extensively as a defense crop.

That keeps termites away and does not cause an infestation problem like pine straw and pine bark mulch do with termites.

It also includes 13 plant micronutrients and richer in minerals than many other mulches like compost and pine straw.

Furthermore, licorice mulch maintains the fertility of the soil for a longer time than pine straw or cedar mulch.

Melaleuca Mulch

If you’re on a tight budget, melaleuca mulch provides an attractive alternative to many other mulches.

It’s also made from the melaleuca plant, a fast-growing evergreen tree native to Australia, which grows quickly and is drought tolerant.

However, melaleuca mulch has extremely high production costs for both production and application.

The nicest thing about melaleuca mulch is that it’s free if you know how to grow it yourself and harvest it at the right time.

Florimulch is less expensive and can be applied at the same time as the melaleuca mulch.

However, before purchasing melaleuca mulch, ensure it is free of herbicides and pesticides.

Cypress Heartwood Mulch

Termites will be repelled away from cypress heartwood mulch because of its anti-fungus properties.

This is due to cypress heartwood’s high content of essential oil.

That sapwood has high levels of natural preservative properties in order to prevent rotting and insect infestation, which makes it an ideal material for mulch.

So, instead of cypress heartwood mulch for your garden or commercial landscaping, consider cedar mulch as an alternative, which is inexpensive yet rich in organic matter.

Cypress heartwood mulch, like cedar mulch, will help suppress weed growth and help retain soil moisture.

The antifungal property not only keeps termites away but also helps prevent and repel other insects from attacking the cypress heartwood mulch.

Cypress heartwood mulch, being a native tree, is drought tolerant and is low maintenance.

This provides enough termite protection to inhibit the infestation of subterranean termites underneath the layer of cypress heartwood mulch.

Cedar Mulch

The cedar tree produces long lasting wood that is decay-resistant and termite-resistant.

It contains thujone, a resin that is toxic to subterranean termites, providing a natural termite repellent for the cedar mulch.

Cedar mulch has 3-4 percent more nitrogen and about 1 percent more potassium than cypress heartwood mulch.

Because it is naturally reddish, the cedar mulch creates a natural barrier, thereby protecting plants from harmful sun rays and extreme temperatures.

All of these characteristics make cedar mulch an ideal material for landscaping and gardening.

In addition to deterring termites from damaging the cedar mulch, the potent aroma of cedar wood also helps deter other insects as well.

Cedar mulch also helps plants thrive during dry periods of the summer with its high water retention capacity.

Why Do Termites Avoid These Mulches?

Best Mulch To Avoid Termites In Your Yard

To go around, all termites need is some humidity and water, but it seems that there are always some termites that avoid these mulches.

Termites dig into the mulch pretty quickly if the wood is moist underneath.

Termites rely on the moisture that is underneath the mulch to feed their colonies.

The mulches on the list lack both moisture and humidity underneath them.

Mulches, being wood chips, also don’t provide much nutrition.

As a result, the best mulch to avoid termites is chopped leaves or even grass clippings.

Also See: How to Get Rid of Termites In Trees Naturally


Now that you know which mulches to avoid and which to use in your yard, you can prevent termites from destroying your landscaping.

Using mulches with termite-resistant plants can help you achieve your landscaping goals without unnecessary damage.

Cedar mulch, melaleuca mulch, cypress heartwood mulch, licorice root mulch, and pine bark nuggets are those that are termite-resistant.

Hardwood mulches, such as cypress bark mulch, cedar wood mulch, and cypress pine bark nuggets are those that are least resistant to termite infestations.

Using firewood or pine wood are also options to avoid termite infestation.

Termites depend on moisture and humidity to survive.

You discovered why these mulches are to be avoided and how you can avoid them using the best mulch to avoid termites in your lawn.

Author Ethan