Bagged mulch vs bulk mulch: which is better?

Growing up working for my brother, we always bought bulk mulch for landscape jobs. That meant driving to the supplier, waiting for the tractor to dump in as much mulch as the truck could hold, and then driving to the jobsite and wheelbarrowing it into place. That’s the way mulch was done. Bagged mulch wasn’t even considered.


After college I went to work for Lodder’s Nursery in Ohio as a foreman and they did the majority of their jobs with bagged mulch I thought they were nuts and I’m sure I voiced that opinion more than once. I was eventually fired from that job and honestly? Good call, Dennis. I was an idiot at 21. The thing is, looking back on it they made a brilliant choice. Using bags made loading the trucks in the morning as easy as sliding pallets on with a forklift. We always had a dead-on accurate accounting of how much mulch we used. Clean up was easier, with no piles of mulch in the street or in the grass where wheelbarrows spilled. And most importantly, mulching around tender annuals is way easier with bagged mulch than it is with wheelbarrows full of mulch. That’s changed how I look at how I buy mulch for my house.

One issue I have with getting bulk mulch is space. There’s currently one spot on my property where I want mulch dumped and that’s at the back of my driveway. Most guys don’t want to dump it there because of the overhead wires (good call). The other big issue I have is time. I’ve had piles of mulch decompose before I get them moved and spread, because I’m cheap and if the delivery fee is $75 but free with 8 cubic yards or more… well, duh. Yes, I’m also that idiot leaving Costco with 1,000 rolls of toilet paper strapped to the roof.

bagged mulch

I’ve really come around to bagged mulch for my house. I can get a pallet in the truck or 2-3 bags in the Subaru, exactly what I need. It’s easier on my back. And it’s easier to use with all my liriope and annuals. Is it more expensive per cubic yard to buy bagged? Heck yeah. But it’s the exact same stuff you buy loose in bulk and it’s a convenience that’s worth it for me.

But never dyed mulch. No, no, never. That crap’s the devil’s handiwork.


    September 19, 2017 REPLY

    Do you ever have problems with mold in the bags. If so, has it been a problem?

      September 19, 2017 REPLY

      nope, never had an issue. Part of that though may be that we’re buying bagged mulch from landscape supply yards, not big box stores, so they’re a) turning stock more frequently and b) taking better care of it

        September 10, 2022 REPLY

        Does bag mulch last longer through the whole season than blown mulch?

          September 11, 2022 REPLY

          Hey Sid, I haven’t done a side by side comparison but if the provider is using a finer grind to facilitate blowing then I would assume it’ll need refreshed sooner. But that’s just a guess.

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