a covering, as of straw, compost, or plastic sheeting, spread on the ground around plants to prevent excessive evaporation or erosion, enrich the soil, inhibit weed growth, etc.

verb (used with object)

to cover with mulch.

Origin of mulch

1650–60; noun use of obsolete mulch (adj.), Middle English molsh soft, Old English myl(i)sc mellow; cognate with dialectal German molsch soft, overripe
Related formsnon·mulched, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for mulch

manure, compost, straw, litter

Examples from the Web for mulch

Historical Examples of mulch

British Dictionary definitions for mulch



half-rotten vegetable matter, peat, etc, used to prevent soil erosion or enrich the soil


(tr) to cover (the surface of land) with mulch

Word Origin for mulch

C17: from obsolete mulch soft; related to Old English mylisc mellow; compare dialect German molsch soft, Latin mollis soft
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for mulch

1650s, probably from a noun use of Middle English molsh (adj.) "soft, moist" (early 15c.), from Old English melsc, milisc "mellow, sweet," from Proto-Germanic *mil-sk- (cf. Dutch mals "soft, ripe," Old High German molawen "to become soft," German mollig "soft"), from PIE root *mel- "soft" (see mild).


1802, from mulch (n.). Related: Mulched; mulching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper