All Things Gardening forum: Mulch. Bulk or "Bag It"

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Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

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frankrichards16
May 4, 2014 5:44 PM CST
Lowes has a sale on mulch. Their $3.33 mulch is on sale for $2 (2 cubic foot bags). Last year I bought 12 yards (truck load) from my local supplier for $465 ( $2.87 per 2 cubic foot delivered). Lowes charges $69 for local delivery ( $2.42 per 2 cubic feet, 12 yards delivered).

I have a front loader, so using bulk might be easier than bags. In tight spots, bags are a plus.

12 yards of mulch dumped on your driveway takes up a lot more room than a bagged pallet or two.

With bagged mulch, you end up with a lot of plastic bags to dispose of.

Bottom line, I still have my Blueberry Money...

So, I ordered 120 bags from Lowes. I will see how this works out:)


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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
May 4, 2014 11:37 PM CST
We had that same sake recently, too. I was behind on ordering in bulk so I went with bags this year. I'm not pleased with the quality from the brand they had on sale. It was too chunky and weeds are popping up through it! I wish I had ordered my fine, pulverized mulch in bulk. Plus wheel barrowing it in and using a shovel is easy less tedious fir me that lifting this heavy bags over and over and over again. Maybe I just didn't have the technique down but I prefer shivering it from a mountain.. And I love the smell! My bashed stuff didn't smell!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
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Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
May 5, 2014 4:02 PM CST
I'm lucky to only be mulching 2 small beds at my own house so bags are perfect.

Most places I maintain are so heavily landscaped that I find it easier to work with bags, especially early in the season when many perennials are just beginning to show. I tend to leave little mounds to distribute later on. Mulching for a living since the 80's I usually opt for bags but some circumstances do call for bulk. I simply find a lot less waste and clean-up using bagged material.

Seems the bulk would be perfect with a FEL...

At any rate you've got some work cut out for yourself! Sticking tongue out
Lititz, PA (Zone 6b)
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Sequoiadendron4
May 7, 2014 6:05 AM CST
I always prefer bulk to bagged. My small brain thinks I'm getting a better deal. Those sales they were having at HD and Lowe's were awesome sales but I've gotten mulch during those sales before and it always bleached faster than the better quality stuff. Also, I'd prefer to scoop mulch out of my truck into the wheelbarrow rather than open bags and dump into the wheelbarrow. Either way I'm scooping out of the wheelbarrow because I get more control with the pitch fork than shaking a bag over the garden.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 18, 2014 3:08 PM CST
Bags work best for me because I can lift one without hurting myself, place 3 bags in my garden cart and distribute them to each bed, then cut and dump each bag. I can also gauge how much work I will do by counting the bags ahead of time and limiting my work to just those bags for one day.

I re-use the empty bags as mini-composters. Fill each bag with weeds and clippings, add a handful of soil and lime, water, punch a few holes in the bottom of the bag, close the bag (clip clothes pins) and set in the sun until it's cooked.

Only used the bulk once; it was less expensive but it was a bit too much work for one person (me) to move it out of the driveway.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
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drdawg
May 18, 2014 4:35 PM CST
Welcome! PA. Like you, I prefer to get it by the yard. My experience with Lowe's mulch is poor to say the least. To me it was more trash than mulch. Besides, I have gone to cypress mulch and the only place I can get it is at our County Co-Op.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
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ShadyGreenThumb
May 18, 2014 8:08 PM CST
Our Lowe's has quite a selection of mulches from Local hardwood mulches, rubber mulch, dyed mulch, and natural wood mulches. But I still prefer the bulk mulch. more bang for you buck, too. I heard that Crazy Ants are rampant in bulk mulch around here. So I am glad I only had time for bagged stuff this year.

What are your thoughts on black dyed mulch? Black mulch come in both bagged and bulk. I love the look as our home has black accents on the outside. But the soy dye is being criticized for robbing the soil of nitrogen. I have been using nothing but black pulverized mulch for the most part in bulk. And this year, black mulch in the bag (not pulverized)
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
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drdawg
May 18, 2014 8:22 PM CST
I don't know, Cheryl. For me, the dyed mulches are simply an aesthetic choice. I cannot imagine that the dye makes one bit of difference. I guess "rubber mulch" lasts pretty much forever, but personally, I don't want rubber surrounding my house. Sticking tongue out I guess, since rubber mulch does last so long, you would soon make up for the expense. It is very expensive and I have only seen it by the bag.

I want natural, un-dyed mulch. No other reason than I just like the aesthetics of it.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
May 18, 2014 8:36 PM CST
The advantage of the rubber mulch is it is not a termite invitation and here in the south that's important. I do a band of 3' around the house with the rubber mulch and finish with bulk mulch.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 19, 2014 5:35 AM CST
Acorn @abhege I like your suggestion of using some rubber mulch to confuse termites. A good idea for many people.

I have only had one negative experience with rubber mulch which happened at a friends condo complex.
Sitting poolside with friends - suddenly, black smoke was coming from the side of the laundry room building. Fire!
There had been an accumulation of lint in the dryer vent; it sparked a fire which caused the rubber mulch to ignite.
Oh, black smoke was awful and the smell of burning rubber even worse.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
May 19, 2014 11:49 AM CST
I am not a big fan of rubber mulch. 10 years or so ago, Ford Motor Co had a special employee deal for a pallet of old tire rubber mulch. Sounded good to me. The best place that I found for this mulch was the floor of my greenhouse. It is soft to walk on:)
Thumb of 2014-05-19/frankrichards16/925a56

Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 19, 2014 12:18 PM CST
Gosh, Frank, if it were not so expensive, it would make a great sub-floor in my greenhouses. It seems like a 2 cf bag at Lowe's was around $20.00, and it would take 10-12 bags to do this.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
May 19, 2014 12:44 PM CST
I tend to get panicky if I don't have a mound of black dirt (compost blend) behind the barn. A dump truck load (14 yards) is about $300, depending on what sale the local dirt yard is running and will last me 1-2 seasons. My dirt yard utilizes their own composting system from local sources (yard waste, food residuals, and wood products). I've never had any weed sprouting problems, although sometimes it does get a bit crunchy in a hot dry spell.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
May 19, 2014 12:58 PM CST
drdawg said:Gosh, Frank, if it were not so expensive, it would make a great sub-floor in my greenhouses. It seems like a 2 cf bag at Lowe's was around $20.00, and it would take 10-12 bags to do this.


Rubber pavers aren't generally "cheap" but they're super comfy to walk on. Could be a pricey investment but I saw some 2' x 6' "rolls" in the $15 range (zoro.com), much less than 1' x 1' squares and they should last forever, er, a lifetime. Similar product on Ebay @ $35 each. Quite a few companies offer recycled rubber products, has to be less expensive than the playground mulch.

Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
May 19, 2014 1:46 PM CST
I think I read where rubber mulch was designed for play areas where it is installed thick and deep to cushion falls. I can't imagine it in flower beds in the summer. Rubber heats up and can burn the base of the plants. And if it is anything like my river rock, over time it will bury itself. That can't be good for the soil.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
May 19, 2014 2:48 PM CST
My experience with bulk mulch vs. bags is that you actually get a lot more mulch for your money in bags. Loading it into the truck, then dumping it out fluffs up the bulk load, and it sure looks like a lot when it's dumped in your driveway. But when we bought the bulk stuff for my daughter's garden we had to go buy a whole pickup load of bags to finish, because once it settled or was watered in, there was a lot less of it.

I find it easier to spread around, just pull the bags directly out of our pickup truck into my wheelbarrow, (no lifting!) and distribute them around the yard where I'll need them.

The mulch of choice here in FL is melaleuca, 'Florimulch' brand is the name and it is made from an invasive tree so it's a win-win, gets rid of bad trees, makes really good mulch. In addition its aromatic oil - it is the tree that tea tree oil comes from - is shown to repel termites, as does eucalyptus mulch.

SO agree with you on the rubber mulch, Cheryl! It doesn't insulate the way wood chip does, will sink eventually but not enrich the soil, and I also just hate the smell of rubber in the garden!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 19, 2014 5:00 PM CST
@dyzzypyxxy,
I really like the idea of using the Florimulch made from melaleuca trees, sounds like a win-win for the environment, but is it really only available in limited parts of Florida? In my younger days I would have jumped into my vehicle and driven to a Lowe's in Florida to buy this, but now I would like to purchase it closer to home. Any suggestions? Shrug!
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
May 19, 2014 5:36 PM CST
I've been using pine straw mulch for the past few years, and I like it a lot. It's sold in bales, is much lighter to haul around, and works well. Also, it doesn't attract termites.

http://www.cedarrunlandscapes.com/products.php


Karen
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
May 19, 2014 6:47 PM CST
@greene The only thing I could suggest is asking the nursery manager at your local Lowe's if they can get a truckload in.

Down here, because all our Master Gardeners are trained to recommend it over any other type, it's so popular that sometimes it's hard to find. The good nurseries get it, and certain Lowe's stores have it - sometimes.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
May 19, 2014 8:12 PM CST
Thank You! @dyzzypyxxy, I will check with the manager at Lowe's to see if they can get the mulch. If I offer to buy a full pallet they may be more cooperative.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"

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