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How to use composted bark and decorative wood chip in your garden

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

Why you should be using composted bark

Composted bark has many potential direct benefits to your garden, including:

Soil Benefits

  • Improves structure

  • Enhances water infiltration and retention

  • Prevent erosion and compaction

  • Moderate temperature

Plant Benefits

  • Provides nutrients to the soil

System Benefits

  • Suppresses weeds and pests

  • Increases beneficial organisms

  • Enhances biodiversity

Our peat free composted bark is a perfect soil conditioner. It is suitable for borders, vegetable plots, trees, bushes and flower beds and mulch. Well rotted for 3-4 years, it provides a rich source of composted organic matter, which is perfect for improving the soil structure. It helps to break down heavy soils, retain nutrients and improve the drainage of the soil.

Ericaceous Plants

Composted bark usually has a low pH, so we do not recommend you solely use composted bark for ericaceous plants. We suggest digging in composted bark to improve the soil structure, then use either specific ericaceous compost, or mix in ericaceous plant food to maintain the required acidic soil conditions for ericaceous plants to thrive in.

How to use composted bark to improve your soil

To improve the soil quality and structure spread a thick layer over the soil surface (2-3 inches thick), use a digging fork to work into the top 4 inches of the soil surface. This is beneficial for all soil type as the nutrients will be slowly released into the soil. For heavy clay soil the composted bark will create an open structure that will improve drainage in the heavy soil. For light sandy soil, composted bark will improve the soil structure, helping it to retain moisture.

For more information on how to prepare and improve your soil. Watch this 5 minute video by B&Q. Explaining how and why you should dig in organic material to improve your soil with other handy and helpful gardening tips.

Mulching beds and borders

What is mulch?

Mulches are loose coverings or sheets of material placed on the surface of cultivated soil or as a top layer to compost in containers. Mulch can be made from either

non-biodegradable materials such as; plastic woven sheet/ fabric, slate, pebbles, gravel stone and chippings. The non-biodegradable mulches do have the advantage of looking decorative, but they do not boost the fertility or structure of the soil. However, biodegradable materials such as; well-rotted manure, composted bark, wood chippings and seaweed improve the structure of the soil and release nutrients into the soils.

Using decorative wood chip as a top layer can still give you an attractive finish to your garden, with the added benefits of nutrients being broken down into to your soil.

Why use composted bark to mulch your plants with?

  • Helps soil retain moisture in summer

  • Suppresses weeds

  • Improves soil structure

  • Provides a barrier for delicate edible crops coming into contact with soil

  • Encourages beneficial soil organisms

  • Deters weeds

How to mulch your garden

  • Remove weeds from the area you want to mulch, including their roots.

  • Lay mulch over moist soil, but ensure the soil is not frozen before applying.

  • Spread a layer about 5-10cm (2-4 inches) thick over the soil surface.

  • Single tree and shrubs are best mulched to the radius of the canopy.

Click Here for a short video on how to mulch borders with Monty Don via gardeners' world.

Click to be redirected to our online shop for the most up to date prices for

£65 Bulk Bag

£50 Soft Wood Bulk Bag

£70 Hard Wood Bulk Bag

If you are interested in a loose load of composted bark or decorative chip please contact

Billy Goode on: 07760 671 603


Our normal delivery charges and delivery area apply to our compost and decorative chipped bark sales. Click here for a detailed map and corresponding prices of our delivery zones.


References for this blog post:


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