Frequently Asked Questions

​​​​Mulch Colorant and Equipment

How can I minimize wash-off on colored mulch?

Mulch that is dried and cured will hold its color longer. Using the minimum amount of water needed to color your mulch means less time will be needed for mulch to dry and cure. Allow more curing time for smaller fibers, as they allow less airflow than larger fibers. Be sure to expose colored mulch to sunshine and high temperatures to shorten the required curing time. Use small piles and turn them one or two times to expose more mulch to air and sun to speed up drying. Learn more about preventing mulch color wash-off.

What are the differences between liquid mulch colorant and powder mulch colorant? Which is better?

Powder mulch colorant is not processed beyond the base material, so color variety is limited and performance can vary from batch to batch. Liquid mulch colorants use similar pigments, but the high-energy manufacturing process optimizes performance and offers a wide variety of color options. The addition of resins and other additives improves adherence to mulch, improves weathering resistance and reduces wash-off. Additionally, with liquid mulch colorant there is no risk of respiratory exposure or airborne emissions. Overall, liquid mulch colorant is a more efficient, versatile and safe product.

How can I tell what mulch coloring equipment is right for my business?

The Sahara® X1 Series produces superior color-enhanced wood mulch at a rate of 150 cubic yards per hour and the X3 Series at 300 cubic yards per hour. The Sahara® Pro uses less water and less energy to increase productivity for large operations. The CM200 single-pump injection system is ideal if your company is just beginning to add color-enhanced mulch to your offerings. The Reflex Series is capable of coloring a wide range of material sizes ranging from 30 mesh rubber granules to 1-inch chunk and rubber buffing. To learn more about which one is best for your mulch production operation, contact your Territory Manager for a needs assessment or learn more about our mulch coloring equipment.

Is mulch colorant safe?

Yes, mulch colorant is very safe. We perform the same safety studies the cosmetics industry does on its products to ensure that colored mulch is safe for people, pets and aquatic life. We also ensure compliance with environmental, health and safety regulations, such as California’s prop 65 requirement, and label our products accordingly.

How should colorant be stored during cold weather?

To prevent your colorant from separating during cold weather, do not let it freeze. Frozen colorant will not adhere well to the mulch and may be unusable. It is best to store colorant above 40° F and only color on days when temperatures are above freezing.

How often will I need to perform maintenance on my mulch coloring equipment?

Our coloring equipment has a variety of daily, monthly and annual maintenance requirements to keep it running smoothly and avoid downtime. Pump hoses, blades, arms, liners, auto-control hopper sensors, bearings and shafts should all be inspected annually for wear. Water should be removed from the equipment and RV antifreeze should be added to prevent freezing in the winter. The amount of wear depends on the annual volume and type of material colored. To learn more, contact our service team or check out our online maintenance tips and resources.

What sets Colorbiotics mulch colorant apart from competitors?

We put our mulch colorant through a stringent R&D quality assurance testing process before, during and after production to ensure we are producing the highest-quality products in the industry without sacrificing product safety. Our liquid mulch colorant contains no dye and is made with high-quality pigments for the best color strength in the industry.

Is Colorbiotics mulch colorant durable during adverse weather conditions?

We do accelerated indoor weather testing and real-time outdoor testing to ensure that the colorant lives up to a one-year color pledge. Industry-standardized wash-off testing proves that the colorant will hold up during wet weather once it dries. Learn more about our quality assurance testing.

Do you have lease options for your mulch coloring equipment?

Yes! Our special financing and lease packages make the world’s most efficient color application machines the most cost-effective equipment choice for your mulch production operation. Your Territory Manager can provide financing and leasing offers customized to your business needs. To learn more, contact your Colorbiotics Territory Manager, or call us at 888-663-6980.

Can Colorbiotics perform maintenance on my mulch coloring equipment?

Yes. Our technical service team can fix problems as they occur, as well as perform routine maintenance to make sure your machine is running as efficiently as possible. Contact our service team to schedule maintenance or repairs.

Are parts and accessories for my mulch coloring equipment available for purchase?

We ship parts and accessories all over the country to ensure your equipment runs at peak performance. Available parts and accessories include tote mixers, scales, conveyors, mixing blades, trough liners and more. Check out the Parts and Accessories brochure for more information.

How does the mulch production and coloring process work?

Trees, branches and other wood substrate is typically ground twice to reduce the particle size. It is then screened to remove fines and sent through a coloring system where water and colorant are added and thoroughly mixed into the mulch. The mulch is then either sold in bulk or bagged at retail locations across the U.S.

Are mulch colorant and mulch dye the same thing?

Mulch colorant and mulch dye are terms that are often used interchangeably. However, they are actually different. A dye provides a translucent coating that allows sunlight to penetrate and sacrifices optimum color strength. A high-quality mulch colorant, like those produced by Colorbiotics, is made with high-quality pigments that form an opaque layer for optimum color strength and weathering resistance. Learn more about the difference between mulch dye and mulch colorant.

How much water will my mulch coloring equipment use?

Our systems allow you to use the least amount of water in the industry. Water requirements on Colorbiotics equipment can be as little as three gallons per cubic yard. Our Global Equipment Management (GEM) system can work with your Sahara® Pro or Sahara® X Series equipment to monitor colorant and water input every five seconds to reduce waste and increase accuracy and consistency. Learn more about pinpointing water usage.

Can my mulch coloring equipment be connected to other equipment, like my grinder or bagging equipment?

Colorbiotics mulch coloring equipment can be interlocked with grinders, screeners, bagging systems, robots or palletizers so they work in tandem and communicate with each other. This can eliminate the need to handle materials multiple times for each step for a more efficient mulch coloring process.

How can I determine how much colored mulch I need for my garden or yard?

The amount of mulch you need depends on the size of your landscaping project. Start by measuring the length and width of your mulch bed, then determine your desired mulch depth. We recommend three to four inches in order to inhibit weed growth and maximize water retention. Our Colored Mulch Calculator can help you determine how many cubic yards and how many bags of mulch you will need to purchase at the store.

How much colorant is typically applied to mulch?

Our mulch colorant should be applied at a rate of 3 pounds per yard of bagged mulch, or 3.5 pounds per yard of bulk mulch. Our mulch coloring equipment can make sure enough colorant is applied to the mulch to avoid poor color quality and faster fading.

What’s the difference between the Starburst®, Mulch Magic® and Impact® product lines?

Starburst mulch colorant is our most vibrant and longest-lasting colorant with superior performance even on difficult wood varieties; it has exclusive UV resistance technology for outstanding long-term protection without washing off. Mulch Magic mulch colorant provides consistent coverage with a minimal amount of colorant. Impact​ mulch colorant delivers top-quality product with advanced technology as a proprietary hybrid coating with intense color and UV resistance.

How do I mix mulch colorant?

To mix your colorant, you will need a tote mixer. Plug the tote mixer into the control panels of your Sahara® X Series,​ ​Sahara® Pro or mulch coloring equipment, lower the tote mixer into it and tighten the wing nuts that hold the tote mixer in place. Mix your tote for a minimum of 20 minutes, then open the valve and prime your coloring system. Smaller drums can be mixed with a drill mixer for a minimum of five minutes. Get more tote mixing tips in our resources section.