Tampa mulch experts dig up their best advice

Tampa mulch experts dig up their best advice

Three Tampa-area mulch experts talk about the benefits of covering and adding color to your landscape.

How does mulch benefit homeowners?

Mark Higgins: Mulch retains moisture, reduces the temperature of the plant beds and helps prevent weeds from germinating.

Peter Klinkenberg: Primarily weed suppression, aesthetics and moisture retention, in that order.

Terrence Smith: Mainly to keep weeds down. It holds water in, stuff like that. It does make the landscape look a lot nicer as well.

How do you know which mulch to choose?

Higgins: The most common ones are cypress, eucalyptus, pine bark nuggets and rubber. Rubber lasts the longest, but it’s also not biodegradeable.

Klinkenberg: I avoid cypress and hardwoods, because they’re harvested from wild trees. Pine bark nuggets are my go-to mulch. Eucalyptus is the most renewable, but it’s not widely available yet.

Smith: You have cypress mulch, red mulch and pine bark. You need more pine bark to cover the same area. There’s also rubber mulch, which I never use. It’s a very expensive option.


Who we spoke to

Landscape By Design

Mark Higgins, owner


Floridigenous Landscape

Peter Klinkenberg, owner


Terry’s Lawn & Landscape

Terrence Smith, owner


How do you know how much mulch you need?

Higgins: You want it to be about 3 inches thick. In most cases, multiply your area’s length by its width, then divide by eight, and that’s how many bags of mulch you’ll need.

Klinkenberg: For new construction, one cubic yard covers about 100 square feet. If you’re buying by the bag, you need 13 and-a-half bags for the same amount.

Smith: You need 13 to 15 20-pound bags from a store to equal one cubic yard of mulch bought in bulk. I’ve done this so often I can usually eyeball how much mulch I’m going to need.

How much does mulch cost?

Higgins: The least expensive is cypress, which is about $1.50 per bag. Rubber is about $12 per bag.

Klinkenberg: I usually charge about $50 per yard installed on a big project.

Smith: With rubber mulch, you’ll be looking at $80 to $120 for a cubic yard. It usually runs about $25 to $27 per yard for wood when you’re buying in bulk.

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