Some Silicon Valley homeowners spruce up their yards and gardens in spring and summer with tanbark or mulch. While this is a very common practice, it can be a bad idea if too close to the home’s foundation. Tanbark is simply small bits of wood, and mulch is often no more than shredded wood (sometimes it’s peat moss). Why is that bad? Wood is the food for termites and piles of tanbark or mulch can hide them as well!
If you have tanbark or wood mulch close to your house now, it’s suggested that you scrape it back away from the house a foot or so. (Check for the mud tubes when you do so.) Otherwise you are inviting subterranean termites to have a feast!
Ask your landscape expert what you might use in lieu of these products in your garden. Perhaps a peat moss or mushroom mulch, pavers, clean compost topsoil or river rocks can clean up the area closest to your house in stead.