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What Are the Best Mulches for Citrus Trees? 6 Great Options

mans hand holding mulch

Citrus trees produce some of the most delicious fruit on the planet, but if you want a large yield, you need to take the best possible care of them. One thing you can do to help your citrus trees thrive is to use the right mulch on them.

We’ve highlighted six great options you should consider for your citrus tree, and we’ve also told you exactly how you should mulch your citrus tree for the best possible results.

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The Top 6 Mulches for Citrus Trees

1. Natural Cedar Mulch

Cost Moderate
Longevity Moderate

Cedar mulch is one of the most widely available landscaping mulch products on the market today, and there’s a good reason for that. Natural cedar mulch does everything you could want from a mulch and then some.

It retains moisture for the tree and keeps weeds away, but natural cedar mulch provides more benefits than just that; it also has a natural scent that helps keep pests like termites away, and over time, the cedar breaks down and provides tons of nutrients to the tree.

While it breaks down and provides nutrients, it doesn’t do it so fast that you need to constantly re-mulch. It is a little more expensive than many other mulch options, but it’s also one of the best choices and looks great!

  • Insect-repellent properties
  • Prevents weeds and retains moisture
  • Breaks down and provides more nutrients
  • Slightly expensive

2. Bark Mulch

Bark Mulch

Cost Low
Longevity Long

Bark mulch is an excellent choice if you don’t want to have to re-mulch every season. Bark mulch takes a long time to break down, meaning you don’t have to go out and replace it very often. While this helps cut down on the workload, it also limits the number of nutrients it replenishes in the soil.

Still, it provides other great mulch features like insulating the roots, and it’s one of the more affordable mulch choices. When you pair that with how long it lasts, it’s a great deal. Just know that you’re not providing the tree with all the nutrients it needs right away, so you might need to invest in a higher quality fertilizer to really help your citrus tree thrive.

  • Lasts a long time
  • Lower cost
  • Great insulator
  • It doesn’t provide much nutritional benefit

3. Yard Waste

Yard Waste

Cost Low
Longevity Short

If you have a larger yard and a ton of yard waste, why not put it to good use? If you collect the yard waste and spread it out around the citrus tree, it’ll break down, thus providing the soil with plenty of nutrients.

However, keep in mind that yard waste breaks down fairly quickly, so you’re not getting the same level of benefits that you would with regular landscaping mulch. Still, it’s free and easy. We always recommend using yard waste to put nutrients back in the soil instead of collecting it and throwing it away.

  • You don’t need to buy anything
  • It breaks down and provides nutrients
  • It doesn’t last the longest
  • Doesn’t always produce the nutrients the tree needs

4. Compost


Cost Low
Longevity Short

Using compost as mulch is a lot like using yard waste as mulch, except you’re likely to have a lot more of it throughout the year. Just ensure you’re not overloading the soil with too much or using too much of one type of organic matter.

Composting can be a great way to put nutrients back into the soil in an environmentally friendly and budget-friendly way, but you need to be careful. Too much of the same material will do more harm than good.

  • Provides tons of nutrients
  • Great for the environment
  • Easy to complete
  • It doesn’t last very long
  • It doesn’t always provide the right nutrients

5. Hardwood Mulch

Wood Chips

Cost High
Longevity Moderate

Hardwood mulch is one of the best-looking mulch options out there. There are tons of different wood types, colors, and textures, allowing you to get a great-looking mulch for your landscape. It also provides tons of benefits, even if it is a little slower to break down than softwood.

Moreover, hardwood mulch is widely available, so you shouldn’t have any problem tracking any down for your citrus tree. You’ll have to spend a little more to get it, but with the look and benefits it provides, it’s worth the extra cash.

  • It looks great
  • Provides tons of benefits
  • Widely available
  • More expensive option

6. Wood Chips

Wood Chips

Cost Low
Longevity Moderate

If you know someone who’s mulching up some trees, then using wood chips is a great low-cost way to mulch around your trees. And if you have dead wood on your property, you can mulch and not need to purchase anything!

But even if you do need to purchase wood chips, you can typically find them for a lower price compared to other mulch options. Wood chips can make an excellent mulch for citrus trees, but you need to ensure you’re not accidentally using chips from a diseased tree. If you are, then you’re spreading the disease to the tree you’re mulching around. Ensure you’re only using healthy wood, though, and this shouldn’t be a problem.

  • Very affordable
  • It can help you clear out dead wood
  • It lasts longer than other low-cost options
  • You can spread the disease

garden flower divider Mulching Around a Citrus Tree

While you might think you know all you need to know about mulching around citrus trees, there’s nothing wrong with getting a little refresher. The most important thing to note about mulching around citrus trees is that you shouldn’t mulch right around the tree’s base. You want to leave some space around the tree’s base for the primary roots—ideally, two to three times the diameter of the trunk.

This mulch layer helps retain moisture, keeps weeds away, insulates the soil, and replenishes nutrients in the soil.

garden flower divider Conclusion

With the right mulch, some patience, and a little luck, you should be able to get some amazing yields from your citrus trees in no time. And once the fruit starts coming, you should be able to enjoy a bountiful yield year after year, letting you enjoy the fruits of your labor for quite some time!

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Featured Image Credit: larisa Stefanjuk, Shutterstock


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