When mulching

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mcwlandscaping, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,164

    1) Ok, someone wants new mulch, what do you do, do you pull out all the old suff first or just put new on top of it? Do you re edge or is that an extra option?

    2) Someone wants beds re edged, do you just go around them with your edger to sharpen them back up or are their more steps involved?

    3) Ive heard about something on here like reconditioning mulch or refreshing or something like that, what is that exactly?

    4) Is 3" too deep for mulching?

    5) How long should good mulch last and keep its color, im talking residential here not commercial applications?

    6) is there maintenance involved with mulch durring the period before you have to replace it all? If so, what is it

    7) That no-weed fabric, is that something i can offer too? How is that priced?

    I will be spreading this with a wheelbarrow and shovel and picking up the material in my trailer from a local place NOT IN BAGS (those suck!)

    Thanks for responses, i was asked ALOT this year about this service and had to turn it down due to not knowing how to price it and such. This comming year ill be ready, Thanks for answers!!
     
  2. Kate Butler

    Kate Butler LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 640

    1) Unless it's REALLY ugly, leave it. We always re-edge before putting the mulch down: it's not an extra, it's part of the mulching service

    2) We edge mostly by hand (more accurately, by foot). The sequence is cut the edge, remove sod &/or grass, shake the soil off, throw the sod in a wheelbarrow or cart, move on.

    3) Sometimes the mulch is still in good shape, just time-faded. In that case, we put a cosmetic amount on top - just enough to cover the old stuff and make it look new.

    4) Depends.... shrubs, trees, or flowers?? Generally, shrubs can tolerate more than trees, Flowers are trickier. Some can take a lot, others not so much.

    5) We usually renew mulch annually on residential jobs. Sometimes it means a lot of new mulch (on newer jobs) and sometimes a lot less (the "cosmetic" amount on longer-term clients).

    6) Weeding

    7) You can offer it, but it's a waste of time and money. Search the site for more info on the subject of weed barrier.

    We spread hundreds of yards a season with wheelbarrows and shovels. It's the best way for a fine finished look.
     
  3. skurkp

    skurkp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    I am not a mulch specialist but I have done a few jobs. I could be told I am totally wrong but here goes. First remember it's not all that much to it.

    1)This answer depends on a couple of things. One is that does the customer know what he wants? Soft wood mulch or hard wood mulch. Second if you are recovering with the same then I just recover.

    2) I edge with a shovel and IMOP this is better than an edger, cuts deeper and allows you to move the dirt from the bed's edge.

    3)I believe that what you are hearing is what I do during my maintenance, that is on full service jobs we take a tool like a pitch fork and turn the mulch. This does two things, makes it much easier to remove weeds and make the beds look freshly mulched. Customers really like it they think it's something special for them. Their beds stay looking new until time to re mulch.

    4)I believe this depends on the bed and how much your customer is willing to spend on the job. First if there is seasonal color or low standing type plants you don't want to cover them around the base to much for some may rot and die. Usually 1-2 inches of good coverage looks good and everyone plants included are happy. If the bed is steep then too much mulch will run off into the grass and make the beds look bad.

    5) I usually mulch twice per year and if turning the mulch keeps the color then it will become thin eventually and you will need to re mulch.

    6) I turn my mulch as explained in #3

    7)The no weed fabric is something you can offer and in my experience I personally don't like it. I can't turn the beds with this installed. Weeds will grow on top of this anyway so I just keep up with my bed work. If the customer does not want bed work then explain to them that they will have weeds every week. On full service jobs beds area apart of the service and kept up look great.


    The thicker the mulch the more yards are needed and the more labor and the more cost. Good luck hope I was helpful and did not give bad info.
     
  4. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Mike, I agree with Kate Butler on all those points. Good advice. I would add, I have found that bagged mulch is often easier to work with on jobs that have a lot of small areas...trees, lots of plants to manuever around, stuff like that. Less mess, easier to get the mulch where you want it, and if you run out and need more, you're not forced to buy another truckload when you only need a few cubic feet.

    If the job has a lot of open "dump & spread" areas, bulk mulch will probably be faster/easier.
     

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