How Much Mulch Do I Need?

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Subject: Cedar mulch

Cedar mulch DOES kill insects, at least mites and fleas. We've used it as a natural chemical form to "de-flea" hedgehogs, and it worked great! So I"be been using it around my home for years and not had any problems with insects or bugs. Just my two cents.
Kim- former zookeeper


Subject: Mulch- benefit of bags

Another consideration for buying bagged mulch is that it rarely comes with "critters." I live in central Florida and one time a truckload of mulch brought a scorpion infestation, another time a coral snake! Now I always buy nice pre packed bags that have sat out in the sun and rain and nothing crawls or slithers out when you open them.

David Shetlar

Subject: Mulch - fleas and ticks

As a professional entomologist, there would be no relationship between ticks and mulch! The only relationship would be if you are using so much mulch that it encourages small rodents (mice, voles, ground squirrels, rats, etc.) as these are the hosts for the tick larvae and nymphs. Flea larvae can grow in mulch as they are general scavengers, but flea larvae need a blood meal provided by the adult fleas dropping blood pellets from their host animals. So, unless you have dogs, cats or other animals regularly sleeping or resting in your mulch, fleas are also not a problem in mulch. The major issues with too much mulch are the nuisance invaders that feed on the molds and fungi that degrade cellulose-based mulch - millipedes, sowbugs, springtails, snails and slugs. When these animals inhabit mulch, then predators follow - ground beetles, spiders, centipedes, etc. And, as one of the other comments states, mulch covering the wooden sill plate of your home is just begging for termite infestations. Most extension publications recommend no more than 2 to 2.5 inches of mulch. This is sufficient to moderate soil temperatures, moisture levels and inhibit weed seed germination.

Kathy Brown

Subject: Mulch

I agree with Michael. I do not add commercial mulch to my plant beds, because I have lots of oak trees, and the leaves that fall from those trees make a beautiful, natural mulch, and if I bothered to mulch, then the leaves would cover the mulch anyway!


Subject: Rubber mulch

I like rubber mulch as it doesn't fade and have to be replaced like wood mulch. Yes, it costs more I like the way it looks also . Is there any own dude to rubber mulch


Subject: mulch

Please do not use cypress mulch, Cypress trees are being cut down faster than they can grow and it is not sustainable. Stick with pine bark or or pine needles.
The dyed mulch is not great for the environment, either, the
dye will eventually leach down into the aquifer and it looks so unnatural.

Betty Walton

Subject: mulch

I've been redoing my front yard because of the drought in California. I bought twenty bags of black mulch for small front yard, my son picked the 2 cu ft bags up in his truck. What I'm getting at is I wished I would of researched purchasing from a supplier because I found out a local company hasties in Sacramento well deliver local FREE. requirements are you have to purchase 4 cubic yards to get the free delivery. Pays to check around.

Donna Murphy

Subject: mulch

Be very careful not to put mulch too close to the house especially not too close to the foundation or you could end up with lots of termites. I am no expert or professional, just a homeowner who was advised by Rottler to keep it away from the house. We did have lots of termites which cost us a fortune. Also, keep your firewood away from the house for the very same reason.


Subject: Mulch delivery costs

I'm a homeowner who uses mulch, as well as someone whose business intersects with several local mulch companies, which means I have a good idea of local suburban mulch delivery prices from year to year. You shouldn't have to incur delivery charges that high unless you live pretty far from a local mulch delivery service. I'd say that fees run more in the $25-$35 range. Best advice is: find a mulch dealer close to your home! And the mulch you buy in bulk is better than the stuff in bags, anyway.

lynne morse

Subject: mulch or rock

I'm wondering after replacing mulch every year if rock might be better? My son layered heavy black cloth and topped it with rock 2 years ago, and has no weeds. I wonder what fugues may be growing under though. I'm grateful and privileged to nurture a small piece of God's earth. I don't want to harm it for my convenience. What is the right choice, mulch or rock? Thank you.


Subject: I tried this on one area

I tried this on one area temporary, and the problem with this i think it would not allow soil to breath and it block moisture (which can attract bugs) ....something to consider

Doug Grapevine

Subject: Pre-treated muclch for killing flea/ticks

Good guide.. One question.
is there any mulch out there that is pretreated to prevent growth of flea/ticks? how much? how effective? how long does the pre-treatment last as far as killing fleas/ticks?

any website for mulch products that are pre-treated for flea/tick killing?

thanks Doug

Mike Lafollette
Mike LaFollette

Subject: Hey Doug,

Hey Doug,

I've herad cedar mulch naturally repels fleas and ticks, but I've never actually tested to see if it works. I've also heard eucalyptus mulch repels pests, but be aware it can also negatively affect nearby plants.


Subject: Mulch Artical

This was a great addition especially at this time, very useful! Mike hit a homerun! Thank you!

Sandra Black

Subject: pine straw for beds

Enjoyed this info. Thanks for the helps!
Do you also have a "rule-of-thumb" for getting pine straw.
Is it necessary to take up all previous pine straw that was laid the spring before or can you layer it? How many layers are OK?

Bill Case

Subject: Pine Straw replacement

Horticulturists recommend that pine straw be replaced annually because it can harbor unpleasant insects and molds. That said, after living for 12 years on the coast of North Carolina I was too cheap/lazy to replace mine so I just added. I found that the old mulch decomposes and turns into fine acidic soil. I had no problems with insects or other unpleasantries. If acidic soil is a concern, purchase an expensive test kit and if it's too acidic then you can always add a bit of lime before the new covering is put in place. Because the bottom layer decomposes so rapidly there no need to worry about layering.

Michael Eggenberger

Subject: Mulch for beds

Any mulch is too much. It's a waste to buy. It gets ugly looking fast. It needs to be replaced often. It's a money drain. Rock is better.

Sharon Moran

Subject: Mulch or Rock?

I do buy mulch , regretfully, each and every year for the past 30 yrs I've had my home. To me, it's like laying down hundreds shredded dollars around the landscape- only to be rained on, disintegrated by the hot sun and drought, or blown to bits by lawn mowers and leaf blowers. So yes, stones and rocks are an attractive addition and smart suggestion.
It's Spring again, time to start all over to tame the unpredictable Mother Nature.

Sharon Moran

Subject: Mulch or Rock?

I do buy mulch , regretfully, each and every year for the past 30 yrs I've had my home. To me, it's like laying down hundreds shredded dollars around the landscape- only to be rained on, disintegrated by the hot sun and drought, or blown to bits by lawn mowers and leaf blowers. So yes, stones and rocks are an attractive addition and smart suggestion.
It's Spring again, time to start all over to tame the unpredictable Mother Nature.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.