Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How deep should my mulch be?
A: 2 to 3 inches is a good average. If you go much deeper than this you run the risk of blocking water to your vegetation.
Q: How do I calculate how much mulch I need?
A: Most suppliers sell mulch by the cubic yard so you will first need to estimate the total square footage of the area you want to cover, then convert that number to cubic yards. For Example:
If your beds all total up to, say, 1500 square feet, divide that number by the following:
“108” if you want a coverage depth of 3 inches
“160” if you want a coverage depth of 2 inches
1500 divided by 108 = 13.88 (13.88 round up to 14 cu. yards 3 inches)
1500 divided by 160 = 9.375 (9.375 yards at 2 inches)
* Please round up or down as we typically don’t sell in half yard increments
Q: What is a cubic yard?
A: A cubic yard is 3 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet = 27 cubic feet
Q: How many bags of mulch are in a cubic yard?
A: Most stores sell mulch in bags that hold 2 cubic feet of material. Divide 27 (the number of cubic feet in a cubic yard) by 2 and the answer is 13.5. So one cubic yard equates to 13.5 bags.
Q: Can I spread mulch on top of my pine straw?
A: Yes, especially if the straw has already started to decay. If the straw is still thick, however, you may be adding some unnecessary and possibly damaging depth to your beds. You don’t want to deprive your vegetation of water.
Q: What is the best way to control weeds in my beds?
A: If you are starting out with fresh beds you have a couple of options: 1) The mulch itself – at the recommended 2 – 3 inch depth – will help control weeds in and of itself, then a spot treatment of a mild weed chemical may be applied as needed. 2) Use either a landscape fabric or newspaper between the mulch and soil as a barrier.
Q: Will dyed mulches harm my vegetation?
A: No, the dyed mulches will not harm your vegetation.
Q: Are mulches treated with pesticide?
Q: Would I be inviting termites if I use a wood mulch around the foundation of my home?
A: Well, wood is wood and termites gobble it up. For most people this isn’t a real concern as most mulch applications are placed against masonry/concrete foundations or the hardy plank siding. But if you have wood siding you might want to consider another product – such as decorative stone. However, some of our customers have placed a decorative stone barrier 8 – 12 inches out from their foundation then continued from the edge of the stone with mulch. This allowed them to use mulch while keeping it from directly touching the foundation. Either way, being that the south provides ideal climate conditions for termites, it’s still a good idea to maintain a pest control program.
Q: How long will mulch last?
A: We have had customers claim to keep acceptable color from mulch for as long as a year. Some have prolonged the life of their mulch by applying a thicker layer initially then using a rake to occasionally break it up. So, while it is possible to get a year out of it, that is probably the max. The upside, however, is that unlike pine straw, mulch doesn’t totally disintegrate so if you put down 2 – 3 inches this year, you’ll probably only have to put down one inch next year, which will bring your depth back up to par for weed control plus provide new color.
Q: How much material will fit in the back of my truck?
A: A standard pickup – like a Ford F150/Chevy 1500 – will hold about 2 yards of mulch, one yard of dirt, and ½ to 1 ton of sand. Longer beds will hold more volume but no more weight. Heavy-duty suspensions will carry more weight. Smaller trucks will hold about 1.5 yards of mulch, about 1 yard of dirt and about half a ton of sand.
Q: How much material can be delivered at one time?
A: We can deliver up to 20 yards of mulch and up to 8 yards of dirt or sand.
Q: Can the materials be dumped in several piles/places?
A: Not really. We can try but when the material starts coming off the truck it is very hard to control.
Q: Will the dyed mulches stain my driveway?
A: If the mulch has been freshly dyed and it gets to you before the dye has properly set, yes, it can stain your concrete. You will have to use a pressure washer to get the stain out. We recommend placing a tarp down on the driveway to help minimize staining.
Q: Will rain wash the color off the dyed (color-enhanced) mulch?
A: Yes and No. If the mulch has been freshly dyed there is a good possibility that a heavy downpour will cause the color to wash. We recommend, just to be safe, that you watch the forecast and try to avoid installing dyed mulches when there are pending rain showers. If the dye has set, then there is no need for concern. Just ask us before you install the mulch if you think there could be an issue.
Q: Can I receive two different products on the same truck?
A: No, it is impossible to keep two products from mixing.
Q: What is the economy mulch?
A: Economy mulch has only been ground one time. There could be pieces of wood as long as one foot. It has a function, such as for dog runs, ground cover in wooded areas, etc., but it is not considered a decorative mulch.
Q: What kind of sand should I use on my lawn?
A: Either masonry or river sand will work but most people prefer river sand. Professional top dressers use river sand as well. I’ve heard customers claim that the river sand really seems to invigorate the lawn and promote growth.
Q: What kind of lead time do you need for a delivery?
A: Much of the time if we are notified early in the day we can make deliveries the same day. But to be safe try to give us a day’s notice, especially if it is a big order.
Q: Do you deliver on Saturdays and Sundays?
A: We do deliver on Saturdays but not Sunday.
Q: Which do you recommend, pine straw or mulch?
A: This is an excerpt from an article I had written in an online publication:
Pine Straw or Mulch? Hmmm…
About once a week someone comes in the store and asks, “should I use pine straw or mulch?” While there are pros and cons to both, it really boils down to personal preference. However, one of these products does have a significant benefit over the other. Read on and see if you agree.
First, pine straw is the #1 mulching material in the Southeastern U.S. From this statement most would surmise that if it’s #1 then it must also be the best, right? Well, not necessarily. It is a good product, no doubt; it’s readily available, it looks great, and when it breaks down it adds valuable minerals back to the soil. Plus, it does a pretty good job of staying in place during a heavy downpour. So what’s the downside? Pine straw breaks down quickly and easily and doesn’t hold its color very long. If you really want to have that fresh pine straw look all year long, then it really needs to be applied at least twice per year. And the downside to that, of course, is not only the cost of the pine straw but the labor involved in spreading it – whether you do it yourself or pay someone to install it for you. Another consideration when buying pine straw is bale consistency – size, freshness (not brittle and dried out), color of the straw, and percentage of debris such as sticks, cones and weeds. These things can vary from load to load, even from the same supplier.
Mulch on the other hand may not be the most popular mulching material but it certainly runs a close second – and may, in fact, buck the trend locally. Mulch is very popular here and for good reason: it is readily available in numerous colors and varieties, is easily applied, has functional as well as aesthetic applications, helps control weed growth, holds color longer and doesn’t breakdown as quickly as pine straw, retains moisture, insulates fragile plants and root systems from searing summer heat and winter cold, and prevents crusting of the soil surface allowing water to penetrate to the plant roots. So what’s the downside to using mulch? 1) The initial cost is more than pine straw, 2) certain mulches will have more of a tendency to wash during heavy downpours, and 3) dyed mulches can stain walkways and driveways if the dye hasn’t had time to properly set (dye run-off is typically not a problem, but it can easily be corrected with pressure washing).
Again, there are pros and cons to both products, but the benefits of mulch seem to outweigh those of pine straw. To learn more about the different kinds of mulches that are available and possible uses, please give us a call here at A1-Heritage Landscape Supply at 770-781-9949. We’ll be glad to help any way we can.