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When it Comes To Mulch, Which is Better? (Bags or Bulk)

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A question perhaps as old as time itself.

Which is better when it comes to buying mulch?

To buy it in bags, or purchase it in bulk.

Well, we have poured through the data and conducted a survey to find the answer.

Here’s the deal, the answer appears to be... it depends.

Below is what you NEED to know about purchasing mulch in bags, vs. buying it in bulk. 

The Results of Our Survey: Do you buy mulch in bulk or bags?

Look, we polled our Facebook group with over 2000 lawn care professionals about whether they buy mulch in bulk, or in bags

They gave us a lot of good feedback that can help us answer the question thoroughly.

So once you have calculated how much mulch you need...

Here is what we found.

We found that lawn care professionals fell into 3 categories; those that always buy bags, those that always buy in bulk, and those that say it depends. 

Let me break it down.

Category 1: 48% Say they “Always buy mulch in bulk”

48% of landscaping professionals say they always buy mulch in bulk

Either by getting it delivered to the job site, or by charging for delivery themselves. 

Pros of buying mulch in bulk:

The biggest upside to buying mulch in bulk is that it is often cheaper. 

One yard (27 cu. feet) of mulch in bulk costs between $25 - $40, depending on your location. 

Get this, currently, a bag of Scott's mulch at Lowes costs $3.33 for a 1.5 cubic foot bag. You would need 18 bags of mulch to get one yard of mulch. Meaning one yard of mulch would cost $59.94.

While there are often sales on bagged mulch. It is rarely cheaper. 

Additionally, when you buy mulch in bulk there is no plastic waste from the bags. 

Furthermore, if your local nursery delivers bulk mulch, you won’t even have to make the trip.

Cons of Buying mulch in Bulk:

There are two main downsides to buying in bulk. 

One, you need to have a truck or trailer to get the mulch, unless you can get it delivered.

Two, It can be less convenient to transport to the garden beds as you will need to move it by wheelbarrow. And if you don’t have your own truck, you will also need to shovel the mulch from the ground to the wheelbarrow. 

The Main Takeaway about Buying in Bulk

Bulk mulch is frequently less expensive than bagged mulch, but it's less convenient to transport.

Category #2: 19% Say They “Always use bags”

19% of landscapers said they always purchase mulch in bags

Pros of Buying Bagged Mulch:

The biggest upside to buying mulch in bags is the convenience of transportation. 

With bagged mulch you can get mulch no matter the vehicle you drive, and getting it where it needs to go is often easier. Especially, if you don’t own your own truck or trailer. 

Furthermore, bagged mulch is much better for sloped properties where getting mulch to a garden bed by wheelbarrow is simply not an option. 

Bagged Mulch on Sale Can be Cheaper 

So, while bagged mulch is often more expensive, it can be nearly the same cost as bulk or cheaper when it's on sale. A popular promotion at Home Depot, Lowe's, and Walmart is 5 (2 cubic foot bags) of mulch for $10. Or $2 a bag. 

You need 13.5 (2 cubic foot) bags to get one yard of mulch. Bringing the cost of one yard in at just under $27. Which is comparable to bulk prices in many areas.

ALWAYS be sure you are buying mulch in bags that contain 2 cubic feet, not 1 or 1.5 cubic feet. Or you will be paying a whole lot more.

Cons of Buying Bagged Mulch:

There are three main downsides to buying mulch.

One, bagged mulch is more expensive. In fact, it can be twice as much as buying mulch in bulk. This makes it impractical to use on larger landscapes. 

Two, the fastest way to spread mulch is with a mulch blower. Bagged mulch would not be practical if your business owns a mulch blower. 

Three, there will be trash to clean up.

The Main Takeaway about Buying Mulch in Bags: 

Despite the higher cost, there are sometimes when bagged mulch is better to use, because of its convenient packaging.


Category #3: 33% Say “It depends on the job”

33% of landscapers said that it really depends on the job

When you look at the pros and cons of bulk mulch vs. bagged mulch. There are a lot of factors to consider. 

For example, a small yard that only requires one or two yards of mulch may be easiest to handle with bagged mulch. As bagged mulch is easier to move, at least in a smaller yard. 

On the other hand, if you are spreading more mulch. 

For example, you need to spread 4 or 5 yards. You can charge a lower rate, and make more than your competition who is using bagged mulch. 

The Main Takeaway 

According to our poll, 52% of lawn care providers and landscapers use bagged mulch at least some of the time. Despite the fact that more landscapers always buy mulch in bulk, more than half of landscapers still use bagged mulch from time to time

How much should it cost to spread a yard of mulch?

While we are on the topic of mulch, let's talk about what the average price for spreading one yard of mulch is. Unlike lawn care rates which can often be hourly

Most landscapers charge per yard of mulch when it comes to mulching. 

On average landscapers charge about $100 a yard to spread mulch in garden beds that require little to no preparation. This price will typically vary from $90-$120 per yard depending on the company, and the local market. 

Some lawn care pros offer cheaper rates to existing lawn care clients.

Note: If a landscape bed requires weeding or other preparations. These would be separate charges. 

And Always remember not to pile mulch against the trunks of your client's trees.

So Which is Better? Bagged or Bulk?

In most circumstances, landscapers agree that it is most practical to buy mulch in bulk. 

However, 52% of landscapers suggest that they use bags some of the time. 

The reality is that it comes down to your business's equipment, the landscape you are working in, and the size of the project. 

But, there is one thing about mulch all landscapers agree on, and that is:



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