Why Brown Mulch Rules
Red mulch is losing market share nationally while brown mulch and black mulch are increasing in popularity. Brown mulch is making the biggest gain, particularly darker shades. BASF manufactures seven shades of brown mulch colorant, and if you were to line those up, the preference has moved 2 spots darker over the past 4 years.
"In the past, brown and dark brown were popular colors for us," says Mike Sherman, BASF senior sales representative. "Both of these shades are on the meter toward the lighter end. Now the most popular shade of brown mulch is dark walnut, which is closer to the darker end of the meter."
He believes the reason may be that the darker colors have a more natural look than red.
Most colored mulch producers have been embracing the trend. One reason is brown mulch shades can be easier to work with and typically cover a wider range of wood fibers than other colors.
There are some things to watch out for, however. First, color preferences can vary regionally and even state by state.
Also, mulch producers can make just about whatever their customers want. But offering too many colors makes it difficult to maintain the necessary inventory to fill orders and creates a reactionary production environment.