1. Scoop, bucket, or cubic yard; what does it all mean?
You buy chicken by the bucket. You buy ice cream by the scoop. So why would you want to buy mulch that way? The biggest problem is knowing just exactly what you might be buying. What is a bucket? What is a scoop? If you're talking about the front of the machine that loads your mulch you just might be surprised that not all buckets (or scoops) are the same size. We sell mulch by the cubic yard for one simple reason, you know what you're going to get for your money.
The dirty little secret is that if a business doesn't tell you what size their bucket is, you might not be getting a cubic yard. For example our bucket is 14.3 cubic feet. A cubic yard is 27 cubic feet (3x3x3) so it is well over half of a cubic yard. With two scoops, you are certainly getting a cubic yard.
Having a known value, like a cubic yard, makes it easier to estimate just how much mulch you need for your garden beds. For example, a cubic yard can easily cover 100 square feet in a new bed (approx. 3" deep), a seasonal topping (approx 1 1/2") gives you over 200 sq ft.
2. How much mulch is needed?
Measure the area and use our calculator to help estimate how much mulch you will need for your project.
Take proper care when applying mulch around trees. Check the condition of old mulch before adding new mulch on top of the old. You want to minimize disease and decay of the root base. If you are adding new mulch to old, rake the old mulch first to break it up. Ensure there is proper drainage to prevent excessive puddles from forming beneath the mulch after a heavy rain. If drainage is poor, keep the mulch shallow at 1” to 2” deep. Lastly, to prevent decay, bug, and other damaging effects to the trunk, never heap mulch against the trunk of the tree.
3. Why use mulch?
Mulch also improves the outside appearance of a home. Real estate agents will tell homeowners to add mulch to all of the garden beds and for good reason. Homes that look better, sell. Mulch inhibits weed growth. As garden beds grow older, it is a good idea to turn the old mulch into the soil. Mulch can provide nutrients to the plants as the mulch breaks down by earthworms and natural decay. Mulch minimizes soil erosion. Although a good rain can wash away some of your garden mulch, consider the amount of soil erosion that would occur without it. Pine bark mulch retains its natural brown appearance longer than dyed hardwood mulch retains color, however the hardwood mulch tends to stay in place better during heavy wind and rain.
The idea that mulch is for cosmetic appeal is only part of the job that mulch provides. Mulch is an essential element for any garden. If applied properly, mulch helps retain moisture, which is essential to healthy plants growth. This can be very helpful especially when water restrictions apply. When watering is limited, mulch can trap and retain more water around the plants that might normally fall to the ground and drain off through the soil, and we all know that spending less time and money watering can be a good thing. A 3” layer of mulch around trees can protect the roots from the excessive summer heat.