Improving Mulch Colorant Accuracy

Accuracy matters. Applying too much mulch colorant is a waste of resources and could cut into profits.

Not enough mulch colorant can lead to a dull product that prematurely fades in a landscape setting, bringing customer complaints and a tarnished reputation for the producer.

Day in and day out, the balance between cost and quality is crucial to running a successful mulch coloring business. Accurately applying mulch colorant and water upfront will save money down the road.


Here are tips for creating colored mulch that looks good and is affordable:

  • Watch concentrations. Low concentrations generally need to be applied at a greater rate than pigments with higher concentration.
  • Apply colorant by weight, not by volume. Check application rates using scales to help avoid over- or under-application.
  • Use color of raw material to your advantage. Save on color costs by reserving darker wood sources for darker colorant like black and brown and lighter wood sources for colors like red.
  • Establish a colored mulch standard to compare with future production. Track the amount of mulch colorant being applied per yard, what the product looks like after application and when it dries, and cost per yard. If a mistake is caught, mulch can be recolored — but that comes with added time, expense and equipment wear.