Should I Use Pecan Shell as Garden Mulch?

Organic mulch improves the soil by providing nutrients and improving texture. While many organic mulches are available, some are not well known like others.

One of the lesser-known organic mulches is pecan shell mulch. This mulch is a result of breaking down pecan shells and can be used to protect your garden or landscaping plants from the sun, prevent weed growth and even improve soil fertility. So, should you use pecan mulch?

What Are Pecan Shells?

Pecan shells are the outer covering of nuts from the pecan plant. Before eating pecan nuts, you must remove the outer husks covering them. The outer husks are what make up the pecan shells.

Pecan shells have many uses, including being used to light fires and as firewood. Perhaps the best utilization for these husks is making mulch.

Since the shells are rich in nutrients and elements that are good for the soil, there has been an increase in the use of pecan shells as garden mulch.

Pecan Shells

Can You Use Pecan Shells as Mulch?

You can use pecan hulls for mulch in your gardening or landscaping activities. These shells have a great-looking reddish-brown color and provide a protective layer to your garden soil.

Pecan mulch also provides an underfoot for your garden that is crunchy and very good in improving soil fertility.

How Do You Prepare Pecan Shells To Be Mulch?

Now that you understand what pecan shells are and can be used as mulch for your garden, the next logical step would be to know how to make the mulch. Preparing pecan shell mulch isn’t difficult. It can be done as a DIY project.  

Always use dry or already composted shells for your pecan husks as mulch. Fresh shells tend to attract squirrels and other nut-loving creatures to your garden.

Here are the steps for making pecan husk mulch for your garden:

The first step involves getting the pecan shells. You can do so by collecting husks from the pecans you eat. However, for most people doing this would take a long time to have enough shells to prepare a mulch. We recommend purchasing pecan husks.

When you have enough shells, you must prepare them for mulching, depending on your use.

If you intend to mulch the flowers in your garden, you may consider putting the shell in a grinder (a coffee grinder will do) to break them into tiny pieces.

Use the shells as they are if you intend to mulch a large area around your garden.

If you like, you can put the shells in your compost pile before using them. Wait until they break down before using them as mulch in your garden. Composting might take a while, but it’s worth it.

How Do You Use Pecan Shell as Garden Mulch?

There are two options here:

  • If you grow plants in pots or bags in your garden, you can spread the pecan mulch on the surface around the plant. A 1-inch-thick layer would be enough to protect the soil around your plant from the sun and prevent loss of moisture.
  • If you have planted directly on the ground, spreading a 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch is advisable to protect the soil and plant.

Due to its appealing red-brown color, the mulch will make your garden more aesthetically pleasing in addition to all its other benefits.

Pecan Shell Mulch Pros and Cons

Should you use pecan hulls as mulch in your garden? Before doing so, learn about pecan shells’ pros and cons.


  • Pecan shell is an organic mulch that can decompose and not leave a harmful footprint on your garden and environment.
  • Pecan shells can be combined with other nut mulches.
  • Pecan husks protect soil and plant roots from sun rays, enabling water retention.
  • Pecan mulch improves the texture and health of the soil.
  • Pecan husks have an attractive reddish-brown color that looks good, especially on flower beds.
  • Pecan shells last longer than other organic mulches because they decompose slowly.
  • Prevent the growth of weeds since it does not allow sunlight to penetrate the ground.
  • Pecan shells are lighter, making their mulch easier to move and spread around your garden.


  • Pecan shells can be pricey, especially when applied in large areas.
  • Hard to find for gardeners living in places where pecans are not grown.
  • Since the shells are lightweight, they can be blown away by strong winds.
  • Since pecan shells can be poisonous to pets, especially dogs, they may not be a good choice for a gardener with pets.
  • Slightly improves soil fertility compared to other organic mulches such as shredded bark and wood chips.

Does Pecan Shell Attract Termites?

Pecan mulch attracts termites. Termites might be attracted to pecan shells not as a food source but to build their homes under the protective cover of the mulch in your garden. Termites can be a nuisance, especially for gardeners who use organic mulches. Organic mulches attract termites as they provide nutrients the insects are looking for.

Pecan husks attract termites simply because they provide a layer of protection under which the insects can make their home.

That said, there are straightforward solutions to this problem. One is mixing the pecan mulch with other mulches that termites avoid, such as redwood or cedar mulch. Doing so will prevent termites from infesting your garden.

Final Thoughts

Pecan husks are an excellent addition to your garden. Pecan shell mulch can be a great choice, especially for gardeners who want to lower the soil pH and those growing plants requiring slightly acidic soil, such as azaleas.


Do Pecan Shells Improve Soil Fertility?

Pecan shells have nutrients that improve the soil’s health and texture, enhancing the soil’s fertility. However, it is crucial to note that other mulches improve soil fertility better than pecan hulls.

Are Pecan Shells Poisonous?

Pecan shells are not poisonous to human beings. However, when the hulls get moldy, they can contain a toxin known as juglone, harming animals like dogs. It can lead to seizures and other neurological symptoms.

Can Pecan Shells Be Composted?

You can compost pecan shells. To do so, put the hulls in your compost bin and keep turning them now and then. They will eventually break down and compost. To hasten the composting process, you must grind the shells into smaller pieces.

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