Q:

What is insect repellent mulch?

A:

Quick Answer

Insect repellent mulch works to keep insects away from plants and other structures through natural oils and chemicals contained in the mulch, or through other physical features. Though applied to help the plant retain moisture and warmth, mulch can actually do more harm than good if it attracts insects. Proper selection of the features of mulch to be used in an area is critical for plant health.

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Full Answer

Organic mulches improve the soil and can encourage the presence of insects that prey on the pests that harm plants. Cedar and cypress mulches contain natural oils and chemicals that repel or kill insects attempting to move into the area. Clear or aluminum-coated plastic mulches create a reflection, blinding and confusing insects. Insects tend to stay away from areas equipped with these mulches. Straw mulches are effective in preventing insects from laying eggs around plants, reducing the number of pests to be controlled. Straw also prevents the spread of fungal diseases that cause plant rot and draw insects. The aroma of cocoa beans deters insects; the shells can be crushed to create the mulch. Cocoa beans can be harmful if ingested, so use in homes with pets and small children is not advised.

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