What Is Gorilla Hair Mulch and When Should You Use It?

Gorilla hair mulch. No, it is not some poor worker’s job at the zoo to pick up the fallen hair from the gorillas. And no, they don’t pluck it directly off the gorilla itself. In fact, it is not actually gorilla hair (shocking I know!).

Let’s take a look at what gorilla hair mulch (or GHM for the purposes of this article) actually is, and when you should (and when you shouldn’t) use it for your next gardening project.

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what is gorilla hair mulch

What Is Gorilla Hair Mulch?

GHM is made from the bark from redwood and western cedar trees that has been finely shredded. This produces a fibrous, coarse-textured mulch that looks like – yep, you guessed it – gorilla hair!

Gorilla hair mulch comes in two main colors:

  • The natural light red/brown
  • Dyed black varieties

What Gorilla Hair Mulch is Used For

Gorilla Hair performs much the same functions as other mulches:

  • Block Weeds
  • Keep moisture in the soil and slows down evaporation
  • Holds soil in place due to its fibrous, mat-like layer

Gorilla Hair Mulch Pros

This unique mulch has a number of benefits, some of which are not common and it can be useful in some areas that are traditionally difficult to mulch.

Great For Mulching a Slope

Because gorilla hair mulch naturally holds together, it is great for using on a slope as it tends to stick there and not slide off like a more traditional mulch would.

It will help keep soil in place on slopes and stop erosion.

Decomposes slowly

Do you like mulching? No? Me either. Well, this mulch is long-lasting. It decomposes very slowly and you will not need to replace it for several years.

It also fades very little over its lifespan, so it will keep your garden looking like it has just been freshly mulched. Nice and tidy!

Forms a Dense Mat and Keeps Soil Moist

This mulch works by forming a dense mat that covers the soil. There are a number of reasons why this is good:

  • It keeps the soil moist and slows down evaporation
  • Because of the mat this mulch forms, it is especially good for sticking to sloped areas. If you have had problems with mulch staying on a sloped area in the past – try GHM
  • It is especially good for windy environments – the mulch simply does not blow away
  • More difficult for birds to kick out of your garden!

Pest Control

Cedar bark (one of the materials that gorilla hair mulch can be made from) has proven to be a deterrent for a variety of pests including:

Gorilla Hair Mulch Cons

As with any product, there are also some things you should be aware of before deciding to use it.


This mulch is quite flammable and should not be placed in an area that may be exposed to open flames or even cigarette butts.

Can Trap/Block Water

If you apply this mulch too thickly, then it can form a mat that is too dense for even water to get through. This means that your soil will see none of that lovely rainwater and it will simply get trapped in the mulch itself.

It is important to make sure you do not pack your mulch down too much, otherwise you will find that it will act like a water barrier and stop the soil getting any moisture at all.

Looking for other types of Mulch? We have a comprehensive guide on mulch types here.

How to Apply Gorilla Hair Mulch

gorilla hair mulch

Gorilla Hair Mulch is applied much the same as most other mulches you may have used in the past.

It works on almost any plants and is especially good for US natives.

There are two points to be aware of:

  1. Apply to a thickness of no more than 2-3 inches (about 6 cubic yards per 1,000 sq ft is perfect). Otherwise, the mulch will actually stop water from reaching the soil
  2. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the base of trees and bushes, or may encourage rot
  3. If you are mulching the side of a reasonably steep hill, then throw down some Jute Netting first. This will hold the soil in place and give the mulch something to grab onto.

If you need a mulch calculator, there is a great one available here: https://www.landscapecalculator.com/calculators/mulch

Gorilla Hair Mulch FAQ

Can You Use Gorilla Hair Mulch on a Vegetable Garden?

Yes, you certainly can. Just make sure it isn’t packed down to hard so that the water can penetrate the mulch to reach the soil and plant roots.

Is Gorilla Grass Mulch The Same As Gorilla Hair?

Yes, they are the same thing – just a slightly different name.

Other commonly used names for the same product include:

  • Monkey hair mulch
  • Gorilla bark mulch
  • Gorilla fur mulch
  • Gorilla hair bark
  • Shredded redwood mulch

Is Gorilla Hair Mulch Flammable?

Yes – When it is dry, it can be very flammable.

It is not recommended to use gorilla hair mulch in areas that are susceptible to wild wildfires, or near any areas that may be exposed to open flames or lit cigarette butts.

Photo of author
Aaron Green
Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. He likes to spend his spare time with his family, and doing DIY projects in the home and garden.

21 thoughts on “What Is Gorilla Hair Mulch and When Should You Use It?”

  1. Do you know if Gorilla mulch impacts the acidity of the soil if used on vegetables. I’m surface watering rather than drip and wondering if there’s an acidic issue.

  2. My landscaper sold me on the Gorilla Hair and it looks amazing…..for the first two weeks.. Leaves, flower pedals, get caught in it and you have to pick it up by hand. Unless there is a different way. Please tell me
    there is!!!

    • I had gorilla mulch on my drought tolerant landscape, not worried about biodegradable natural things falling on it! If you’re after manicured landscaping, you’ll get stressed… enjoy nature!!

  3. Do I need to lay down a weed barrier before the GHM? Tons of weeds in my rocks now, replacing the rocks soon with GHM….

  4. I heard GHM is bad for pets because the fine particles blow in the wind and can be harmful to them. Is this true?

    • It depends on how decomposed the old stuff is. If it’s really decomposed, then probably not. But you want to make sure that you are not creating a barrier to moisture reaching the soil.

      • Hi Aaron, could you define “steep” for me, haha? I’m hoping to avoid the extra step of putting down jute netting before the gorilla hair. The area in question isn’t steep per se, more gradient (think 40ft of a terraced rice field that runs along my driveway from street to garage); it’s a small incline. Do you think that warrants the jute netting? Many TIA for your help/reply!!

        • Hi Kat, without seeing it, it’s hard to say. But it sounds like you shouldn’t need any netting – Gorilla mulch is pretty good at holding on!


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