Mulch Information

Shredded HardwoodShredded Hardwood is a type of decorative mulch consisting of the bark from trees known as “hardwoods”. Mulch is a by-product of the lumber industry. Hardwood Mulch consists of ground bark and other shavings from trees that are not usable for lumber.

The main purpose of mulch is to hold moisture, retard weeds, maintain even soil temperatures, and provide a decorative appearance.

To determine the amount of mulch that you will need.

  •  Measure your landscape to obtain the total square feet to be mulched. Square feet is determined by length in feet multiplied by width in feet of the area to be mulched. Next determine the depth of the mulch in inches. Convert the depth to feet by dividing the number of inches by 12. Multiply the square feet by the depth in feet to determine the cubic feet, divide the result by 27 to convert cubic feet into cubic yards.((length in feet) x (width in feet) x (depth in inches/12)) / 27Example: (10 feet x 8 feet x (3 inches / 12)) / 27 = .74 cubic yards
  • If you know how many bags of mulch you used last year, you can easily convert your amount to bulk mulch which is sold by the cubic yard.


Bag Size Number of Bags Equals
1.5 cubic feet 18 1 cubic yard
2 cubic feet 13.5 1 cubic yard
3 cubic feet 9 1 cubic yard

Hardwood Mulch

Hardwood mulch is shredded and composted bark from hardwood trees. Sawmills remove this bark before cutting the timber into lumber. The bark is obtained from the mill, composted for at least 6 months then shredded and screened. The longer the bark is aged, the darker it gets. Most bark mulch producers only shred and screen the bark once. The screen size determines how fine or coarse it will be. “Double” and “triple ground” are terms used by consumers and do not represent how mulch is really made. Unfortunately, some producers are adding shredded pallets, yard waste, and sewage to hardwood bark mulches to increase profits. Bowles Mulch produces and sells 100% pure hardwood bark mulches to ensure the health of your landscape.


Proper composting and aging, produces a mulch rich in nutrients and has a dark brown to black color. Coarse hardwood mulch will help prevent erosion. Well-aged hardwood mulch gives your landscape a nice clean rich look. Because of the density of hardwood mulch, it insulates and protects your plants from extreme temperatures better than most mulches.


Though it looks great, it can be a high maintenance mulch. Hardwood mulch does compact causing a dry condition under the mulch. When this occurs, your landscape will be starved of water and air. This will promote the growth of fungus and will raise soil temperatures through the summer months. Occasional aerating, cultivating, 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. Also, because of its dark color, it is best not to use hardwood mulch around new plantings in the hot summer months. The dark color can warm the air around your plants to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beware of hardwood mulch that may have a vinegar or ammonia smell, it could be toxic. This is a result from a mulch producer which has improperly composted the mulch. It will kill annuals and perennials over night and can cause damage to your shrubs and trees. Do not use it! If it has already been applied, water the mulch and plants thoroughly.