Mulch formula way off!!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by guntruck, Apr 9, 2001.

  1. guntruck

    guntruck LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 527

    I need help on this fellas. We have been using our chart for a while now doing mulch jobs. Its a chart we got off of here to measure how many yards at how many inches for now many sqft. On smaller jobs its close but when we get into large mulch jobs like 10-15/yds plus we seam to be way off!! Now is there any other factors you guys use to make it more exact? I realize there are shrubs and ground cover that take up spots that wont be mulched but we are too far off for that. For instance, i hate to say this its embarrasing but were learning, we estimated our apt complex at 35-40 yards of mulch. When we were done we used like 28-30 yards of mulch. In my opinion thats too far off. How can i give accurate estimates if my measurements are that far off!!!!!!!!! Do you guys measure than subtract something for the shrubs and cover? PLEASE give some insight here =) lol thanks
  2. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073


    I think you are finding the correct formula already.......Experience. Even with all these nifty measuring tricks, its still not possible to 'scientiffically' measure exactly what you will need. I've noticed, that over the years, you start to just get a 'feel' for it. Maybe off a little bit here and there, but overall very close. I think with a little time, you will get closer and closer.

  3. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    Here's another thing to consider....Are you laying it as thick as you calculated? Measure it. I think you'll find that when you install it you may tend to go light.

  4. greens1

    greens1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 352

    I believe that stonehenge is on the money.

    Like Shurlock Holmes said " take away the impossible and what you have left, no matter how improbable, is the truth".
    In this case I belive that would be:

    1) Your supplier delivered 7 to 8 yards of extra mulch, not real likely if he has been in business more than 1 yr.

    2) Your measurements are wrong. Remember, measure twice order once.

    3) You are simply spreading the mulch too thin, most likely unless you can't use a measuring wheel.

    A good trick that I use when mulching a large area is to spread a measured line of mulch every 20' or so. This allows you to simply fill in between the lines and will generally result in greater depth accuracy, this also works when spreading sand in bunkers. If you are using shredded mulch make shure you wet it down after spreading, this will cause the fines to lay down and reveal any low spots.
    Good Luck,
    Jim L
  5. guntruck

    guntruck LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 527

    Thanks guys but i didnt mean i had 40/yds delivered and used 28, what i meant was i, well my brother measured out for 40 yards and we ended up using just 28. That was when the complex was completed.
  6. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    I have noticed that a lot of times when you get bulk material delivered that it is not the correct amount. One drivers 1 yard bucket is different from another drivers 1 yard bucket on the same Machine! (heaped or not heaped) Heck a lot of times that 1 yard bucket size depends on how the loader driver feels at the time....Even when they fill a 10 yard dump truck it depends there are a lot of versions of "full"
  7. Greenkeepers

    Greenkeepers LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE Ohio
    Messages: 695

    I think the main reason is that you're not laying it as thick as you figured. You estimate 3", but you're not going to put 3" at the sidewalk or drive, or around trees/shrubs or as an average.

    So if you don't have it ordered but you charge them for 40 and do 28 you're making more money. Other than ethics whats the problem...
  8. SDF250

    SDF250 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    Well i was thinking about this and i know bla bla bla the trailer filled level is approx 8 yards but it only takes 4 scoops to fill it so it does not cost 28 per yard its more like 14-15

    like dan said it depends on the bucket size and the operator

    now these guys that bid mulch jobs at $65 make more sence now thats 45 per hour per yard

    so your measuring wheel is right and your thickness is pretty close

    and thats why when i say i need 4 yards they look at me funny and say its 28 per scoop

    glad someone asked this becouse i just like to chime in
  9. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    I can go with my pickup truck for two yards of mulch, by rights it should be level with the bed if not lower, and I leave the nursery with a rounded heap; go figure.

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