How to Dye Mulch

Wondering how to dye mulch? Fresh mulch is attractive, helps control weeds and retains moisture in your soil. Daily exposure to the sun can fade mulch quickly, however, leaving it dull and unsightly. Mulch dye can easily restore your garden's mulch to its former glory.

Rejuvenate Your Mulch With Dye

As mulch sits in your yard, only the lowest level breaks down-the top level can retain its structure for many seasons. Mulch dye can help your mulch regain its look, extending the life of your mulch by two or three times. Mulch dye is formulated to stand up to the rigors of outdoor exposure. Most dyes are rated to last nine months between reapplications (with some fading during the dye's lifespan). The following tips will help you get started:

  • Where to get it. Mulch dye is available at larger gardening centers and via many re-sellers on the Internet. If you're concerned about the effects of dye on your plants and the environment, look for dyes that are vegetable-based or use only organic materials.
  • Check with the weatherman. Mulch dye needs to dry at least six hours before being exposed to rain or irrigation. Make sure you have enough drying time and a calm day before starting to dye your mulch.
  • Cover up. Before applying mulch dye, cover all adjacent areas with plastic sheets or tarps. Although dye will wash off plants, it will not come out of blooms. Protect flowers in your beds by wrapping plants in plastic sheeting.
  • Spray on. Mulch dye is best applied with a hand-pumped pressure sprayer. Mix the dye with water according to the manufacturer's instructions. Keep the spray wand within 6" of the much surface to avoid wind-borne over spray. Work backwards so you don't step in freshly dyed mulch. For the best coverage, try to make two passes across each bed in a crossing, perpendicular pattern.
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