I. HOW & WHEN TO MULCH (Mulch 101)
II. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
III. DELIVERY INFORMATION
IV. BRUSH DUMPING & RECYCLING
V. ALL ABOUT OUR DYED MULCH
Mulching is one of the simplest, most important and beneficial practices used to maintain a healthy garden, landscape bed and trees. Mulch is also the number one labor saving product s people can use. It doesn’t matter whether you have a huge vegetable garden or just a few flowers, increasing your knowledge of mulch types and using them correctly can increase the beauty and productivity of your garden. Since 1987 Indiana Mulch & Stone has been one of the largest suppliers of organic and inorganic mulch in Indianapolis. Over 95% of our mulch is proudly manufactured with recycled products. Mulching is one of the gardening activities which really has a positive impact. When applied correctly, mulch has the following attributes on soil and plants:
• Mulch will add to the beauty of the landscape by providing a cover of uniform color and pleasing texture to the surface, which in return give your landscape the “finished look”.
• Mulch prevents soil splashing, which not only hinders erosion but keeps soil-borne diseases from splashing up onto the plant foliage. This also keeps fruits and vegetables cleaner.
• Mulch prevents crusting of the soil surface, in return improves the absorption and movement of water into the soil.
• Mulch prevents soil compaction.
• Mulch prevents loss of water from the soil by evaporation, which in return can cut watering up to 50%.
• Mulch prevents the germination of many weed seeds, reducing the need for cultivation or the use of herbicides.
• Mulch help maintain soil temperature by acting as an insulator, and in return keeps soil cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
• Mulch will improve the soil structure in your garden or landscape beds. As mulch decays, nutrients are released into the soil.
• Mulched plants have more roots than plants that are not mulched because plants will produce additional roots in the mulch that surrounds them.
• Mulch keeps your pets, children and yourself cleaner during damp weather. Mulch adds a barrier between you and the muck.
When to Apply Mulch:
One of the questions asked more often is: When is the best time to mulch? Time of application depends on what you hope to achieve by mulching. Ask yourself two questions. Am I going for aesthetics or plant / soil health? If you are going for looks, anytime of year is fine. It comes down to when you can find time. If you are more concerned about the overall health of your landscaping it goes back to the benefits of mulching. Mulch is an insulator between the soil and air. If you are using mulch in your vegetable or flower garden, it is best to apply after the soil has warmed up in the spring. Cool, wet soils tend to slow seed germination and increase the decay of seeds and seedlings. If adding additional layers of mulch to existing perennial beds, wait until the soil has warmed completely. Mulching used to help moderate harsh winter temperatures can be applied late in the fall after the ground has frozen but before the coldest temperatures arrive. Applying mulch before the ground has frozen may attract rodents looking for an over-wintering site. Delayed application of mulch should prevent this problem as, hopefully, the creatures would already have found some other place to nest. We recommend if you are using mulch material to protect your plants over long winter months, you should use a very loose material such as straw, pine needles or cocoa shell mulch. This will help insulate the plants without compacting under the weight of snow and ice. One of the benefits from winter applications of mulch is the reduction in the freezing and thawing of the soil in the late winter and early spring. The repeating cycles of freezing at night and then thawing in the warmth of the sun may cause small shallow rooted plants to pop out of the soil, this in return leaves their root system exposed and results in injury or death. Mulching helps prevent the rapid fluctuations in soil temperature.
How to Mulch and Upkeep Your Landscape Beds:
Mulch is the icing on the cake, there is some work to be done before you spread your mulch…
1. Kill Weeds – Remove all weed growth or unwanted growth. You can also spray all weeds with a herbicide 1 to 2 weeks prior to mulching. This allows the weeds to completely die. Dead weeds are best to pull.
2. Trim Trees and Bushes – It is best to do this before mulching because of the debris it produces.
3. Clean Out Your Beds – Clean out all dead leaves, weeds and trimmings with a rake. An adjustable rake works best.
4. Cultivate – After your beds have been cleaned, cultivate any compacted soil or mulch. A roto-tiller or hand cultivator will do the job. Cultivating will allow moisture and oxygen to pass through the soil easier.
5. Edge Your Beds – Creating a clean edge really enhances your landscape and gives it the professional look. An edging shovel or power edger can be used to create an edge. Try using a garden hose as a guide to create nice flowing curves.
6. Rake Smooth – Using a stiff rake, such as a mud rake, smooth out all the surfaces to be mulched. Otherwise, your mulch beds will look lumpy.
7. Apply a Pre-Emergent – Apply a pre-emergent (Preen or Treflan) to prevent germination of weed seeds. A second , after the mulch has been installed, can add protection from weed seeds that may germinate into the mulch.
8. It’s Time to Mulch – Using your hands or a rake, apply new mulch over the existing cultivated mulch or soil. We suggest 2 inches, no more than 3 inches thick. When mulching around trees and woody stemmed plants, keep the mulch away from the base. When finished mulching, water to moisturize mulch and allows it to settle into place.
9. Mulch Maintenance – Once a month or so, check your mulch for compaction. If compacted, use a garden claw, rake or cultivator to loosen (scratch) it. This allows water and oxygen to pass, which helps prevent growth of fungus and restores appearance.
10. Fungus – If fungus is present, remove it and the surrounding mulch. Rake existing mulch to cover area, and then water thoroughly. Fungus is a sure sign that your mulch compacted and your beds have dehydrated. Cultivation and watering will be necessary.
Proper Techniques for Mulching Your Trees:
Other than adding beauty to your arborscape, mulch benefits trees by conserving moisture, improving soil structure, reducing soil compaction, increasing soil aeration, increasing available nutrients, hinders weed / grass growth and helps prevent damage from out power equipment.
1. When to Mulch Your Trees – Mulch your trees annually in the spring months before soil moisture decreases and temperature increases. Mulch after tree injury’s as well as prior to, during and after construction or infrastructure changes affecting tree roots and tree health.
2. Mulching Material – Organic materials are preferable to inorganic materials (stone and rubber mulch). Organic mulches will decompose adding nutrients to the soil. Unlike inorganic materials, organic materials must be replenished.
3. Mulch Method – Apply mulch in a circle covering the base of the tree. The general recommended depth is 2-4 inches. You must keep mulch at least 6 inches from the base of the tree. It is very important not to mulch with a deep layer of material (over 6 inches). Mulching with piles against the trunks of trees (especially young trees) can lead to insect and disease problems.
When to Re-Apply Mulch to your Landscape Beds:
This will depend on what type of mulch you use and how fresh you like your landscape to look. To keep bark mulches looking fresh, you will need to mulch within a year since they tend to break down more quickly enriching your soil. Our Epic dyed mulches will fade after a year (12-18 mo.), so to keep them looking good you may need to apply a new layer once a year. Cypress, cedar and pine mulches last longer and may need to be top dressed every so often. Pine needles last a long time and you may experience several years between mulching.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does mulch attract termites?
This is the number one question asked. The answer is NO. Click here to learn more.
Does mulch draw bugs?
Any organic material has the capability of drawing insects or bugs. This is not bad because it is a part of the natural scheme of things. Mulch will not attract anymore insects or bugs than would normally already be there.
How much mulch do I need?
We recommend 2 inches, no more than 3 inches in most situations. Playgrounds especially need more than 3 inches for a cushioned fall. At 3 inches deep, 1 cubic yard covers approximately 100 square feet. Multiply the length and width (in feet) of your coverage area, divided by 100 and this will be how many cubic yards you need. Click here to visit our Mulch Calculator.
How many cubic yards will my truck hold?
A full size pick-up truck will hold approximately 2 cubic yards untarped or 3 cubic yards tarped depending on the length of the truck bed and the type of mulch. What is the smallest amount of bulk product you sell? The smallest amount of bulk material we will sell is ½ cubic yard.
Do you offer delivery on your products?
Yes! We lead the industry when it comes to speedy delivery. Call 826-7777 or click here to order online.
How many bags equal 1 cubic yard?
1 cubic yard consists of 27 cubic feet. If you are looking at 2 cubic foot bags, there are 13 ½ bags to equal 1 cubic yard. If you are looking at 3 cubic foot bags, there would be 9 bags equal 1 cubic yard. If you are looking at bagged stone, most are ½ cubic foot, which equals 54 bags to 1 cubic yard.
Is your mulch treated?
No, we do not treat any of our mulch with chemicals. Our Epic dyed mulches are tinted with a 100% Natural elements. (SEE BELOW)
Does the coloring wash out in the dyed mulches when it rains?
Yes, if you are planning on using any dyed product, make sure you have 24-48 hours of good, dry weather. If it rains before colorant cures, it could wash out. Once dyed mulches have been cured, you typically get 12-18 months out of the color.
Is there a mulch material that deters insects?
While not 100% effective, cedar and cypress mulches have a natural oil that acts as an insect repellent. This oil slows down the decomposition of the mulch, in return lasts longer.
What is the mold on top of my mulch?
When we get a hot humid summer a fungus sometimes grow on top of the mulch. It looks like vomit, dog droppings or spew. Must fungi occur where there is a lot of shade and very little air movement. The mold can easily be cleared by tossing it with a shovel. Dyed and hardwood mulches compact causing dry conditions under the mulch. When this occurs, your landscape will be starved of water and oxygen. This will promote the growth of fungus and will raise soil temperatures through the summer months. Occasional aerating, cultivating (raking) and watering will greatly decrease the chance of fungus and disease. The finer and dryer the mulch, the more prone it is to this problem. These type of fungus are not harmful, just a part of nature. Pine needles or cypress mulch do not produce fungus.
If you have a weekend project in mind, it's a good idea to have your product delivered on a weekday. During the spring and summer months Saturdays are extremely busy. If you are looking for a Saturday delivery please place your order in advance. Placing a large tarp down where you want the material dumped can expedite the drop for us and the cleanup for you. Our drivers are responsible for a safe delivery (your safety and ours). They will try to accommodate your request to drop material at the desired location. However, it's their job to make you aware of possible dangers; such as overhead power lines or tree limbs, septic fields, soft or wet ground. The drop is at their discretion. You may be asked to sign a waiver. If it appears unfeasible, they will ask for an alternate drop site. Please consider these obstacles when choosing your drop location.
Delivery Area: Acton, Anderson, Arcadia, Atlanta, Avon, Bargersville, Beechgrove, Brooklyn, Brownsburg, Camby, Carmel, Cicero, Clayton, Clermont, Cumberland, Danville, Edinburg, Fairland, Fishers, Fortville, Fountaintown, Franklin, Frankfort, Greenfield, Greenwood, Indianapolis, Jamestown, Kirklin, Lapel, Lebanon, Lizton, Martinsville, Maxwell, McCordsville, Monrovia, Mooresville, New Palestine, Ninevah, Noblesville, North Salem, Pittsboro, Pendleton, Plainfield, Shelbyville, Sheridan, Speedway, Thorntown, Trafalgar, Westfield, Whiteland, Whitestown, Zionsville and more…
We do offer this service for a minimum fee. Come to 10300 Pendleton Pike at our Geist location and dump your clean tree brush, tree trimmings, or storm cleanup. We will not accept loads of leaves, grasses, trash etc. Click here to be forwarded to our tree brush recycling page.
Everything You Need to Know About Dyed Mulch
Benefits of Dyed Mulch from Indiana Mulch & Stone
Our Epic Dyed Mulch is a uniquely attractive landscape product with environmental benefits. Our Epic Brown ™, Epic Black™, Epic Red™, and Epic Gold™ mulch maintains its vibrant color longer than your typical Hardwood mulch. Premium Hardwood™ mulch for instance will usually turn gray within a few months. Dyed mulch is safe for humans, animals and the environment. Our dyed mulch benefits soil structure, inhibits weed growth, and provides many other wonderful benefits.
Epic Dyed Mulch is Proven:
-Vibrant and Long Lasting
-Non Toxic and Safe for People, Pets, and Plants
Not all Dyed Mulch is created equal:
Most dyed mulch on the market is made from recycled pallets, pressure treated lumber, furniture, construction debris, and other unsavory wood products (along with all the nails, screws and whatever else that is in the wood). Dyed landscape mulch containing wood treated with chromium, copper and arsenic can raise the levels of harmful chemicals in your soil. At Indiana Mulch we use 0% of these cost cutting methods, instead our dyed mulch is manufactured using composted recycled tree brush fiber and hardwood bark. We outperform our competitors not only with a better wood fiber product but our “State of the Art” processing equipment and the best non- toxic coloring agent, with no chemicals that leach into the ground or evaporate into the air. Indiana Mulch utilizes the newest mulch coloring machinery in the entire country which in return allows us to use less water and colorants to ensure the best dyed product available while leaving a smaller environmental footprint on water and fuel usage.
The Coloring Agents:
Better living through chemistry applies to dyed mulch also. Indiana Mulch achieves the rich color of its dyed mulches through utilizing all natural, non-toxic coloring agents. These coloring agents are derived from some of the Earth’s most common elements. These include Carbon, Iron Oxide, and Iron Oxide-Hydroxide.
Epic Black™ dyed mulch utilizes Carbon which is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth's crust and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. It is present in all known life forms, and in the human body carbon is the second most abundant element by mass (about 18.5%) after oxygen.
Epic Brown™ dyed mulch utilizes Carbon and Iron Oxide. Iron is the most common element (by mass) forming the planet Earth as a whole. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust. Iron oxides are chemical compounds composed of iron and oxygen. Iron oxides and oxide-hydroxides are widespread in nature, play an important role in many geological and biological processes, and are widely utilized by people.
Epic Red™ dyed mulch utilizes Iron Oxide without the addition of Carbon.
Epic Gold™ dyed mulch utilizes Iron Oxide-Hydroxide for its coloring. Iron Oxide-Hydroxide is also used in cosmetics, tattoo inks, and used as a phosphate binder in aquariums.
The Coloring Process:
To understand how dyed mulch may occasionally experience product “washing”, it is necessary to have a general understanding of how the color-enriching process works. The colorant is dispersed in a water-based solution in the production process. Water is the carrier that enables the colorant to coat our wood fiber surface. While water is of great value to help evenly coat the wood fiber with rich, vibrant color, it also acts as a carrier between the wood and colorant particles that bond to the wood and cannot be broken just by adding additional water, such as rain or an irrigation system. The bond needs time to form between the colorant particle and the wood fiber. This is referred to as critical drying time or curing.
There is no steadfast rule on what is the required critical drying time. This is based on fiber moisture content, production inventory time, and weather all contribute to the variability. These factors yield a wide range in possible drying time requirements. Experience tells us the range of 24-72 hours is a comfortable window. The timeframe is based on when the product is installed, not produced.
Dyed Mulch Installation Dos and Don’ts:
Dump bulk dyed mulch onto a tarp to prevent discoloration to the ground or driveway surface. If a tarp is not available we recommend wetting down the driveway or lawn before dumping the dyed mulch and washing the surface off with soap and water, or use a pressure washer after applying the dyed mulch if there is any visible residue.
Avoid scheduling your delivery and / or application on a day when heavy rain is forecasted. If you do take delivery and rain is in the forecast. As noted above, you should try to find a window of no less than 48 hours of rain-free weather as critical drying time is needed.
Renewing “Washed” Product:
In the event product “washing” does occur, there are options available to amend your mulched areas. If the material has been delivered and is in a bulk pile, the washed product can simply be mixed in with the rest of the mulch as it should be just a surface wash. There will be enough dyed mulch in the pile to blend the surface material. There will be no product loss.
If the dyed mulch has been applied to the landscape, there are two options to remedy the situation (keep in mind the same critical drying time is needed).
Lightly rake the surface. Colorant loss is normally limited to the top half-inch of material. Mulch is normally applied 2-3 inch depth leaving plenty of material to cover the surface once it’s flipped over.
Top coat the surface with an additional half-inch of fresh dyed mulch.