Our most popular product, we make it here on the farm so we know what goes into it, or more importantly what does not. We use logs and chips only, no lumber, compost, brush, or stumps. We take care to keep the raw material as clean and neat as possible. The manufacturing process is pretty simple, the material passes through an enormous grinder – twice. We have a short video Here.
The mulch is ground in the winter or early spring and stacked in a huge pile. This pile heats up quickly and the material darkens and breaks down as it ages. The result is that mulch purchased early in the season may be lighter in color and density than the heavier, darker product late in the season. We usually blend mulch of different batches to lessen the difference.
Our version of “double processed” may be different than some. The variety of machines used to make mulch all put out a slightly different product. The real test is how big the pieces are, and what material.
Because we make it here on the farm, the costs are much lower than other mulch varieties that have to be trucked in. The actual wood in any mulch is the first thing to fade, and this has the highest wood content of any of our mulches, so be aware that the chocolate brown color may fade to gray well before the end of the season, especially in periods of heavy rain, or in direct sunshine. It is a completely natural product with no added chemical, dyes or compost.
Mulch is our main product. We offer several kinds, both bulk and bagged. Although our lineup does change slightly from season to season, here are our main varieties, listed by popularity: (keep in mind that everything eventually fades in the sun, and that wood fades faster than bark)
- Bean’s Blend. A hardwood mulch, made from the whole log. Ours is double or triple processed and pretty fine. We get it dark by aging in a huge pile.
- Southern Bark. A bark mulch, made from mostly bark, a by-product of southern paper mills. A premium product.
- Bark Fines. A bark mulch that has been further screened to remove more wood and larger pieces. Typically darker, heavier.
- Playground Mulch. Super clean wood chips that don’t mat down. Quarter – dime sized chips. Lighter in color and weight.
- Red Dyed Mulch. Now using only logs, no recycled material for a clean product, white wood with few fines takes the food-safe dye well.
- Wood Chips. Rough material for rustic applications, may contain sticks and leaves. Priced right.
- Compost. While usually a soil amendment, some have good results using as a landscape mulch.
- Washed Stone. Either our SA-8 or our SA-6 can be used as stone mulch that will not decompose.
Questions relating to the purchase and use of mulch
short answer: 3″
long answer: Proper Mulching Techniques good info by the International Society of Arboriculture, Champaign, IL
It’s a fact, mulch will fade. Sun and rain work together to bleach and wash the wood till the colors are all gone. How fast? its impossible to say but if you feel that you need a little more color a quick fix is to scratch the surface with a rake. This will expose a fresh, darker layer. Dyed products tend to last a little while longer than their natural counterparts.
- Try to avoid piling too much mulch in your beds, just to cover a thick but faded mulch layer. Too much mulch can be detrimental to the soil ecosystem.
- Fine mulch keeps its color longer than coarse mulch, it’s the actual pieces of wood that fade.
- Mulch that has been “cooking” in a well-tended, huge pile for months tends to get darker and stay darker. (i.e. our Bean’s Blend, later in the season)
- Freshly cut and ground bark mulch, that hasn’t had time to mature in a huge pile, can fade quickly ( Rain + Sun + High Wood Content)
This all means nothing to your plants. Weeds won’t grow faster thru faded mulch, and all the things that happened to make your mulch fade would have otherwise adversely affected your soil and plants.
13.5 That is if the bag is a 2 cubic foot bag, which is our standard size for mulch. Compost and soil may be heavier and contain less volume.
Its always the best value to buy in bulk, if you need it and if you can haul it. If you need 5 or more yards a delivery from us is probably the best route. If you need to mulch around a new tree then bags are your answer. The 2-3 yard projects get a little more involved, as we just can’t afford to send out a truck and driver for a small order without charging an extra fee. To save a few bucks many customers swing by the farm to get a yard or two on the pickup or trailer. A nice benefit with this plan is that you can get exactly what you need, and even come back if you run a little bit shy. We have several customers who rent a truck from Menards or Home Depot and use it to haul (our beautiful) bulk mulch to their (well manicured) homes. The clever customer pictured here bought some firewood to hold down the tarp covering his mulch – nice multitasking.
The benefit with bags is that you can haul it in your trunk and can carry the bag to the bed and just keep going till your done.
You can either use our Mulch Calculator, or this handy guide.
A rule of thumb is one yard to cover 100 square feet 3″, so the 2nd best way to guess how much you need is to walk around the yard with a notepad and measure the individual beds, squaring them off into approximate rectangles, then adding up the total square feet, if you come up with 1200, get 12 yards. (if you want 3″ depth).
The best way is to learn from experience, call us to see what you used last time, and make adjustments as needed. Keep in mind that it’s ok to be a little under or over 3″, so take advantage of volume discounts if possible, or maybe even plan your mulching schedule to meet minumum delivery load sizes.
A good goal is to keep the soil covered with 3 inches, some start with 4″ and squeeze an extra year between mulchings, whatever works for you and your schedule/budget. Try to prevent bare spots, if you can see soil today, you will see weeds tomorrow.
Here are a few mulching strategies our customers employ.
Every Year Best way to keep consistent mulch coverage and prevent weeds from getting a foothold, predictable workload and expense.
Skip a Year Common, basically the same volume required, but to get constant coverage a thicker layer is needed to begin with. Some bald spots likely on slopes, high wind, or high traffic areas.
Twice a year Break it up into front and back, gives a chance to add fresh color to opposite area. Also permits use of two products.
3 Year Cycle Probably quite a few bare spots, and limited or no weed control at the end. Popular strategy for busy parents with kids in sports!
Your plants don’t care how much you spent on mulch. All of our mulch varieties give approximately the same benefit, the real difference is how it looks to you. Look over the descriptions of the various products and choose the one that seems to be the best fit. Remember, mulch is not a one-time deal, you will be replacing or replenishing every year or two. At that time, you may choose to switch things up a bit. Tell us what you didn’t like about the previous choice and we will be glad to try to match you with a more suitable product.
Ok, it doesn’t always stink, but…our mulch includes no manure or compost, but the minute that tree died it started decomposing – combine that with the heat of a huge damp pile and you can get some funky odors, while sometimes it just smells like wood. Some love the smell and some hate it, but it doesn’t last more than a few days after you spread it.
Southern Bark may be a better choice for sensitive sniffers, if Cedar or Cypress is not available.
Our compost does however smell of compost, which oddly enough our gardening customers seem to like.