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See more synonyms for mulch on Thesaurus.com
  1. 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.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to cover with mulch.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for mulch

manure, compost, straw, litter

Examples from the Web for mulch

Historical Examples of mulch

  • Some use tobacco stems as a mulch about Asters instead of manure.

    The Mayflower, January, 1905


  • To provide a mulch of dry soil so as to prevent the evaporation of moisture.

    Agriculture for Beginners

    Charles William Burkett

  • They should have a summer mulch to intercept the radiation of moisture from the soil.

  • The only available material for a mulch in most instances is the soil itself.

  • The early clipping and the mulch cause increase in yield of seed.

British Dictionary definitions for mulch


  1. half-rotten vegetable matter, peat, etc, used to prevent soil erosion or enrich the soil
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  1. (tr) to cover (the surface of land) with mulch
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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).

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper