Applying mulch is highly advised for those looking to retain moisture in their landscape and ensure their grass and plants remain vibrant and in good health. It additionally provides a layer of protection for them throughout the winter months.

The national average mulching cost range is $150 to $400. Most homeowners spend around $275 for 3 cubic yards of bark mulch, including delivery and installation.

The actual cost of mulching varies depending on factors such as the type and color of mulch, the size of your garden, and whether you want the mulch delivered and installed.

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Average cost of organic mulch per cubic yard

Organic mulch is made of plant materials, compost leaves, or grass clippings. It is a great weed barrier and can contribute a lot to the quality of your soil.

Organic mulch typeLowHigh
Pine bark$117$130
Bark mulch$78$104
Cedar mulch $65$91
Cypress mulch$91$149
Shredded hardwood mulch$78$104
Yard waste$26$40
Wood chips$65$78

Average Estimate: $100

Average cost of inorganic mulch per cubic yard

Inorganic mulch includes rocks, gravel, plastic sheeting, and rubber. It is usually artificial and can last much longer.

Inorganic mulch typeLowHigh
Synthetic Pine straw$40$60
Crushed seashells$40$400

Average Estimate: $150

Average cost of mulch by colour

If you’re looking for a landscape that creates a better sense of appeal, you can consider coloured or dyed mulch. Mulch can be dyed to take on a new colour that it doesn’t naturally have. The most common colours are red, black and brown. Most of the common dyes are organically dyed with iron oxide, carbon or vegetable-based dyes. This makes them safe to use.

Colour of (organic) mulchQTYLowHigh
Brown mulchPer Cubic yard$30$40
Red MulchPer Cubic yard$30$40
Tan MulchPer Cubic yard$30$45
Black mulchPer Cubic yard$40$60
Green mulchPer Cubic yard$40$60
Blue mulchPer Cubic yard$45$65

Average Estimate: $50

Cost of Mulch per Yard

Mulch typically becomes less expensive per yard, the more you order at one time the cheaper it becomes per unit yard. So when mulching multiple areas, you can save in the long run by purchasing all the required mulch at once. The table below shows the total price of mulch for a different number of yards as the amount of mulch increases.

No of yardsLowHigh
1 - 3$40 - $60$40 - $180
4 - 6$30 - $40$120 -$240
7 - 10$20 - $30$140 - $300
10 - 20$10 -$20$100- $400

Labor Cost to Install Mulch

Mulch installation costs mostly depend on the material preferred for mulching. You may choose to go with organic types of mulch such as wood chips, bark, leaves, compost, or inorganic mulch such as plastic, stones, and gravel. The cost of the mulch you chose and the area to cover will determine the basic cost. Landscapers understand how to calculate the correct amount of mulch and determine the correct type for your soil and aesthetic needs.

Landscapers charge by the hour for most installations. The cost to spread mulch generally ranges from $55 to $75 per hour for a 2-person crew. For 3 cubic yards, expect the job to take around 2 hours to complete. This includes planning, application, and equipment handling. Two hours of labor costs approximately $110 to $150.

Mulch Blowing Cost

Mulch blowing is a new type of mulch installation. Rather than shoveling and raking it by hand, the landscaper uses pressurized air to direct the mulch. This has a cost of around $35 to $60 a cubic yard, so for 3 cubic yards, you can expect it to cost around $105 to $180.

Additional cost factors of mulching

Depending on the type you want, different types of mulch have unique costs. You should also consider the size of the area you want to cover, the delivery, and the installation, as this affects the total mulching prices.

Mulch type

There are two kinds of mulch: organic mulch and inorganic mulch. Organic mulch is made of plant materials, compost, leaves, or grass clippings. On the other hand, inorganic mulch is rocks, gravel, plastic sheeting, and rubber. It is usually artificial and can last much longer. However, organic mulch can be a better weed barrier than the other and can contribute a lot to the quality of your soil.

Garden size

The amount you will be paying for mulching will depend on the area you want to be covered. Buying bulk mulch can be done per square meter, cubic meter, or bulk bag. The bigger your area is, the more mulch you will need. The recommended depth of mulch is 3 inches.

Tips on hiring a mulching contractor

Once you decide on hiring a landscape contractor for your mulching job, follow the checklist below to help you hire the right one.

  • Have a plan and specification for your mulching job.
  • Verify the name, address, telephone numbers, and the location of the business.
  • Verify how long they have been in business as well as their license and insurance.
  • Look at photos of similar mulching jobs completed by contractors.
  • Ensure they show interest in your project and display a positive attitude.
  • Verify their reputation (BBB, Chamber of Commerce, local suppliers, other contractors, past clients, etc.)
  • Get a written contract that is clear, complete, and firm, stating all materials, work to be done and amount to be paid with a payment schedule.
  • Agree on a start date and a completion date.
  • Never pay more than 50% upfront and never give final payment until the job is 100% complete to your satisfaction.
  • Get multiple quotes on GoTreequotes.

Benefits of mulching

Some of the benefits of mulch include:

  • Insulates the soil so there is less of a dramatic change in temperature
  • Retains water/slows down evaporation
  • Deters weeds from growing
  • Reduces lawn mower damage to the tree
  • Prevents soil compaction
  • Gives contrast to your yard design
  • Makes your landscaping look sharp and finished
  • Feeds the organisms in the soil
  • Prevents erosion
  • Protects the roots of the tree
  • Promotes insects like earthworms to hang out in the soil

DIY Mulching

If you want to mulch your yard yourself, there’s a proper way to do it.

Step 1: Choose a color and type of mulch

Step 2: Remove grass, debris, sticks, and weeds from the desired diameter in your yard. Rake the area around the tree so that it is an even surface

Step 3: Spread wood chips 2-4 inches deep and evenly around the trees. This thickness still allows the roots to breathe.

Pro Tip: Keep the mulch about 2 inches from the trunk of each tree so that they do not touch. When mulch covers the tree bark, it can suffocate the tree and cause it to rot.

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.