Have you ever wondered why some mulches cost as little as $20 a yard while others are almost $50? I took this picture the other day at one of the supply yards.
What you’re looking at is essentially wood chips being loaded into a processing plant. Once added, the wood is mixed with a latex paint before coming out the other end. This mulch is the cheapest mulch you can buy. More expensive mulch options are usually bark, not wood, mulches. Trees are stripped of its bark and it’s the bark that creates the mulch. Different tree species dictate not only price, but color since they are all natural, meaning no paint. The most expensive mulches are usually some variant of a medium priced mulch. The mulch we use is aged meaning it is held two years instead of one, so it develops an extra rich color. It is also triple ground vs. single or double ground. The more times a mulch goes through a processor the more fine it becomes. In general terms, the four things that effect price in mulches is whether the mulch is wood or bark, the type of wood used, how long it is held and how much it has been refined. Below is a picture of our typical mulch that we use in our new installations and garden maintenance. It is and aged, triple ground, natural bark mulch.
Notice how fine it is with no large chunks of wood.