Compost vs Mulch: Understanding the Differences for Your Garden

14 January 2024 by
Harley Thompson

What is Mulch? 

Mulch is a material used to cover the soil surface in gardens and landscaping. It can be organic, like wood chips, straw, or grass clippings, or inorganic, such as stones or plastic. The primary purposes of mulch are to retain soil moisture, suppress weed growth, regulate soil temperature, and enhance the visual appeal of garden beds. While organic mulches decompose over time and can enrich the soil, inorganic mulches do not break down and therefore don't contribute nutrients to the soil. 

What is Compost? 

Compost is decomposed organic matter, a crucial component for healthy soil. It is made from a variety of materials, including kitchen scraps, yard waste, and manure, which break down over time through microbial activity. Compost improves soil structure, increases nutrient availability, and supports beneficial soil organisms like earthworms. It can be mixed into the soil as an amendment or used on top of soil, playing a vital role in plant health and soil fertility.

Main Differences Between Mulch and Compost:

1. Purpose and Placement: 

    • Mulch is primarily used as a top layer on the soil to conserve moisture, control weeds, and improve aesthetics.¬†
    • Compost is used to enrich the soil, either mixed in or applied as a top layer.¬†

2. Composition: 

    • Mulch can be organic or inorganic and does not necessarily decompose to add nutrients to the soil.¬†
    • Compost is entirely organic and rich in nutrients, improving soil health as it breaks down.¬†

3. Impact on Soil Health: 

    • Mulch primarily affects the soil's surface, impacting moisture retention, suppressing weeds and creating temperature regulation.¬†
    • Compost enhances the soil's overall health, structure, and nutrient content.¬†

4. Usage in Gardening: 

    • ¬†Mulch is often used in garden beds and around plants for protection and aesthetic purposes.¬†
    • Compost is used for soil amendment, promoting robust plant growth and healthier gardens

Discover the Best Composts and Mulches at Daisy's Garden Supplies: 

At Daisy's Garden Supplies, we offer an extensive range of mulches to cater to various gardening needs. Our selection includes

Red Wood Mulch

Red Wood Mulch:

Vibrantly dyed and made from recycled pine and hardwood pallets, this mulch adds a splash of colour to your garden

black wood mulch

Black Wood Mulch:

Is ground up and dyed with a rich black vegetable dye to give a dynamic black colour.

tree mulch

Tree Mulch:

Created from tree lopping and pruning, ideal for organic gardening.

watersaver mulch

Watersaver Mulch:

Excellent for retain soil moisture by reducing evaporation

playsafe mulch

Playsafe Mulch:

A certified soft fall mulch, perfect for playgrounds, combining safety with aesthetic appeal.

pine bark

Pine Bark Mulch:

A classic choice for those seeking a natural look.


Pea Straw Farm Bale: The organic superhero mulch

Our Pea Straw Bale is a versatile garden product, ideal for: 

  • Organic Nutrition: It decomposes to enrich the soil with organic matter and nitrogen.¬†
  • Moisture Retention: Helps in conserving water and reducing evaporation.¬†
  • ¬†Stimulating Growth: Encourages worm and microbial activity, enhancing plant growth.¬†
  • ¬†Protection: Effective in weed suppression and soil erosion control.¬†
  • ¬†Eco-Friendly: Naturally integrates into the soil over time.¬†
pea straw farm bale

Our Composts:

mushroom compost

Mushroom Compost: The Unsung Hero

Mushroom compost, or spent mushroom substrate, is a fantastic soil conditioner for various gardening projects. It's particularly effective in vegetable gardens, enhancing plant growth and soil fertility.

poultry manure

Poultry Manure: Nature's Nutrient-Rich Booster

Chicken manure is a high-potency fertilizer and soil improver, suitable for all soil types. It's rich in nutrients and beneficial microorganisms, making it an excellent addition to your fertilising routine and compost mix.

revive compost

Revive Compost: Enhancing Your Garden's Health

Revive compost is a premium mature compost made from recycled green waste and composted animal manure.

  • Meets AS4454 Standards: Ensures quality and environmental responsibility. ¬†

By choosing the right compost or mulch from Daisy's Garden Supplies, you can significantly enhance the health and appearance of your garden. Whether you're looking to boost soil fertility with compost or maintain a neat, weed-free garden with mulch, we have the products to meet your gardening goals.

About the Authors

Harley Thompson

Harley is a second-generation journalist with a passion for gardening and a keen eye for detail.  Currently studying a double degree of Commerce and International relations at Monash University, Harley loves learning new things. He specialises in creating engaging content about garden advice, using experience in store, with our team and customers. His writing blends his academic knowledge with practical experience, offering informative and inspiring articles.  

Greg Fitzgerald

Greg Fitzgerald is a qualified horticulturalist with more than 30 years in the industry and 16 years at Daisy's Garden Supplies. He manages production and procurement for all our products, ensuring high-quality gardens and landscapes for our customers. His vast experience and qualification in horticulture make him a key asset to Daisy's. He offers valuable insights and a wealth of knowledge in terms of mulches, soils, pebbles and rocks, composts and many other products.