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Is scotts mulch dyed?

Mulch is an essential component of many gardens and landscapes. It helps suppress weeds, retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and enhance the overall appearance of garden beds. Scotts is one of the most recognizable brands when it comes to mulch and other lawn and garden products. But one question that often comes up regarding Scotts mulch is whether or not it contains dye.

The Purpose of Mulch Dye

Mulch dye serves a purely aesthetic purpose. It provides a uniform, rich color to mulch, helping it maintain its visual appeal over time. Undyed mulch tends to fade to lighter, less attractive shades of brown as it weathers. Mulch dye counteraacts this effect by imparting color that lasts much longer. This allows the mulch to continue enhancing the look of the landscape even after months of exposure to sun, rain, and other elements.

Does Scotts Use Mulch Dye?

The short answer is yes – most Scotts mulch products contain some type of colorant or dye. This includes popular varieties like Scotts Nature Scapes Hemlock/Fir Bark Mulch and Scotts Color Enhanced Cypress Mulch. The dye gives Scotts mulch that deep, rich color that helps it maintain a fresh, decorative look over the course of a season.

However, it’s important to note that not all Scotts mulches contain dye. Their natural mulch options, like Western Redcedar and Forest Floor mulches, do not have color added. These products are designed to showcase the natural colors and textures of real wood mulch.

Benefits of Dyed Mulch from Scotts

There are a few key reasons why Scotts opts to add colorant to many of their mulch varieties:

  • Uniform appearance – Dye gives their mulch a uniform, almost “painted” look compared to natural, non-dyed mulch which can appear patchy as it fades.
  • Enhanced curb appeal – The rich color provided by the dye offers immediate aesthetic appeal for landscapes.
  • Long-lasting color – Mulch dye prevents the rapid fading and dulling that occurs with natural wood mulch.
  • Versatility – Dyed mulch suits a wide range of landscape designs and color schemes.

Essentially, the dye allows Scotts to produce mulch that looks great right away and maintains that pristine, vibrant appearance for months after installation. This makes it ideal for homeowners who want their landscape mulch to provide visual pop without frequent touch ups.

Downsides to Dyed Mulch

Despite the aesthetic benefits, there are some potential downsides associated with dyed mulch products like those made by Scotts:

  • Artificial look – Some homeowners feel dyed mulch looks overly artificial.
  • Color bleeding – Mulch dye can sometimes bleed onto surfaces like driveways and walkways when wet.
  • Toxicity – There are concerns about toxicity from mulch dyes, though major brands like Scotts use colorants deemed safe for residential landscaping.
  • Cost – Dyed mulch is generally more expensive than undyed varieties.

Additionally, while the dye improves fade resistance, dyed mulch will still tend to lose some color intensity over time. It generally needs to be refreshed or replaced after 1-2 years to maintain its original rich color.

Types of Mulch Dye Used by Scotts

Scotts uses iron oxide pigments to dye many of their mulch products. Iron oxides are natural mineral compounds that provide long-lasting, fade-resistant color. They are considered non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

Specific iron oxides used by Scotts include:

  • Red iron oxide – Adds rich red hues.
  • Yellow iron oxide – Provides warm golden and brown tones.
  • Black iron oxide – Imparts deep black color.

In addition to iron oxide dyes, Scotts may use small amounts of other colorants like carbon black in some mulch varieties. But iron oxides remain the dominant coloring agent in their dyed mulches.

Scotts Mulch Options: Dyed vs. Natural

When purchasing mulch from Scotts, homeowners have the choice between dyed and natural options. Here’s an overview:

Dyed Mulch from Scotts

  • Enhanced color from dyes like iron oxide.
  • More uniform appearance.
  • Increased fade resistance.
  • Typically more expensive.
  • Considered safe but some toxicity concerns exist.
  • Can bleed color when wet.

Natural, Undyed Mulch from Scotts

  • No artificial dyes used.
  • Shows natural variations in color.
  • Fades to grayish tones more quickly.
  • Typically more affordable.
  • No risk of color bleeding.
  • May appear patchy or non-uniform.

Scotts offers both options so homeowners can choose the right type of mulch for their preferences and landscape needs.

Popular Dyed Mulch Choices from Scotts

Here are some of Scotts’ best-selling dyed mulch products:

Scotts Nature Scapes Hemlock/Fir Bark Mulch

  • Made from shredded fir and hemlock bark.
  • Dyed in a rich “Sequoia Brown” color.
  • Provides up to 6 months of rich color.
  • Ideal for ornamental beds and landscapes.

Scotts Color Enhanced Cypress Mulch

  • 100% cypress mulch with colorant added.
  • Available in Red or Black shades.
  • Color lasts 2-3 times longer than natural cypress.
  • Great for ornamental plants and flower beds.

Scotts Earthgro Colored Mulch

  • Economical dyed mulch.
  • Engineered wood fibers rather than bark.
  • Red, brown, and black color options.
  • Decorative groundcover for flower beds and trees.

These provide just a few examples of popular dyed mulch choices from Scotts. Consult their full range of mulch products to see all available styles and colors.

Tips for Using Dyed Mulch from Scotts

To get the most out of dyed mulch products from Scotts, keep these tips in mind:

  • Prepare the soil beneath mulch beds to improve moisture retention and drainage.
  • Install mulch 2-3″ deep, and avoid excessive piling.
  • Reapply new dyed mulch layers annually to refresh the color.
  • Rake periodically to maintain an even appearance.
  • Water carefully to prevent color bleeding onto other surfaces.
  • Combine dyed mulch with compost or fertilizer for healthier plants.
  • Select a mulch color that complements your plants and overall landscape design.

Properly preparing the soil, maintaining optimal mulch depth, and replenishing layers each year will help maximize the benefits and minimize any drawbacks of using dyed mulch products.


Mulch from Scotts receives dye to create an artificially colored, rich and uniform groundcover that maintains its decorative appearance for months. Iron oxide pigments like red, yellow, and black are commonly used to enhance mulch color. While dyed mulch provides aesthetic benefits, natural mulch avoids issues like color bleeding and artificial appearance at the expense of quicker fading. Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preference. Scotts offers both dyed mulch blends and all-natural mulch without dyes. Considering factors like appearance, longevity, cost, and environmental impact can help homeowners decide which option is right for their unique needs and tastes.

Mulch Type Pros Cons
Dyed Uniform appearance, enhanced color, fade resistance Higher cost, color bleeding, toxicity concerns
Natural No dyes, non-toxic, lower cost Fades quickly, uneven appearance