If you have a big landscaping project in mind, you may be considering buying mulch in bulk. While it is possible to have loose mulch delivered straight to your yard, or you can pick it up yourself with a truck, many homeowners do not choose to do so for various reasons.
- The mulch pile will need to be protected from the elements.
- A mulch pile may be unsightly, especially if it will take a while to spread it out.
- The grass underneath the pile (or tarp) will brown temporarily.
- Rodents and insects may make a temporary home in the loose mulch.
- A convenient place for a dump truck to pull up to may not be close enough to your project area, requiring a lot of wheelbarrow trips, potentially across hilly and uneven ground.
This brings us to bagged mulch…
Instead of loading up your vehicle with dozens and dozens of individual bags, taking the time and expense to travel to and from the store, many homeowners (such as myself) choose to have a pallet full of bagged mulch delivered to their yard at the beginning of the growing season.
Depending on where you purchase a bulk order of bagged mulch, you may get a discount. Home Depot has been known to give a 10% discount, for buying over 30 bags of mulch at once, in-store only. Be sure to call your individual store to confirm this, as it may be zip code-specific.
The advantages of buying a pallet of bagged mulch over loose mulch are numerous:
- You can direct the delivery person where you want the pallet placed. It can even be inside a garage or large shed, as they’ll be using a forklift (a standard procedure for Lowe’s is to have a forklift on the flatbed delivery truck).
- Bagged mulch is protected from creatures looking to make a home in it.
- The pallet is wrapped in plastic to protect it from the elements. It’s an easy task even after you’ve opened the plastic to cover it back up.
- It’s very convenient to take a single bag as you need it, and easy to transport to your project area.
If you’ve decided to go with a pallet full of bagged mulch, your next question might be, how many bags to expect from your delivery?
How Many Bags of Mulch Can Fit on a Pallet?
How many bags will be on your pallet depends on several factors.
The range can be anywhere from 50 bags to 75 bags of mulch per pallet, depending on the following specifications:
- The cubic feet in each bag – mulch bags come in different sizes by volume.
- The weight of the mulch material (hardwood, pine bark, straw, rubber mulch, etc.), as pallets have weight limits.
- The stacked height of the mulch material (hardwood, pine bark, straw, rubber mulch, etc.)
When pallets are loaded, several factors are considered, for safety reasons. The weight of the full pallet cannot exceed 4600 lbs., and the height of the stacked bags cannot exceed 60” (in some cases, 48”.)
The Number of Bags Per Pallet Varies by the Type of Mulch
The weight of different mulch materials varies greatly, affecting how many are stacked safely on a pallet. Rubber mulch can weigh 90 lbs per bag, while hardwood mulch may weigh 20 – 40 lbs, depending how much moisture it has picked up. Shredded wood mulch (such as cedar shavings) falls somewhere between the two.
As a general guide, you can expect the following pallet quantities for a 2 cubic foot bag of:
- Hardwood mulch: 65 – 70 bags per pallet
- Straw: 65 – 70 bags per pallet
- Pine bark: 65 – 70 bags per pallet
- Cedar shavings: 45 – 50 bags per pallet
Rubber mulch often comes in smaller bags, as it’s much heavier. At Lowe’s, Rubberific brand rubber mulch is packaged in a range from 1.5 cubic feet, down to 0.8 cubic feet, with 50 bags per pallet for the 1.5 cubic foot bags.
It is always a good practice to check with the individual store you’re ordering from, as these numbers may differ according to each store’s policy.
Mulch Comes in Different Size Bags
To add to the confusion, mulch comes in a variety of different-sized bags, measured by volume. This will affect how many bags are loaded on each pallet.
Let’s use hardwood mulch as an example, as that’s the most popular type:
|Bag Size (CU FT)||Bags per Pallet|
|1.5 CU FT bags||70 to 80 bags|
|2 CU FT bags||65 to 70 bags|
|2.8 CU FT bags||50 to 60 bags|
|3 CU FT bags||40 to 50 bags|
Do Pallets Come in Different Sizes?
Although pallets do come in different sizes, styles, and materials (wood or plastic) depending on global location and industry uses, in North America, the standard pallet construction is wood, and it measures 48 x 40 inches. It is referred to as the GMA Pallet.
How Many Bags of Mulch Are on a Pallet at Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart?
Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart all stack 65 to 70 bags of wood mulch per pallet, for a standard 2 CU FT bag.
How Heavy is a Full Pallet of Mulch?
The weight of a pallet of mulch depends on several factors, including the type of mulch, how many bags are on the pallet, and – if it’s wood mulch – the amount of moisture each bag has absorbed from rainfall.
Typically, a 2 CU FT bag of hardwood mulch weighs approximately 20 lbs, but if it’s been saturated, it can weigh upward of 40 lbs. Remember, wood is a very absorbent material, and a single gallon of water weighs 8.8 lbs.
If we figure the weight of each bag at 30 pounds, for a 65-bag pallet of hardwood mulch, comprised of 2 CU FT bags, the estimated weight would be 1950 lbs, PLUS the weight of the pallet itself, which usually is about 40 lbs.
That brings the weight of a pallet of hardwood mulch to nearly 2000 lbs.
Rubber mulch is packed in smaller bags and has less bags on each pallet.
A pallet of rubber mulch, packed in fifty 0.8 CU FT bags will weigh approximately 2040 lbs, including the weight of the pallet itself.
Can I Put a Pallet of Mulch in my Truck Bed?
A pickup truck’s load capacity is contingent upon the manufacturer’s specifications. Pickups are generally referred to as 1/2-ton, 3/4-ton, and 1-ton models, because the older pickups were limited to hauling those amounts: 1000 lbs., 1500 lbs., or 2000 lbs.
Today’s pickups (even while still using those labels) have expanded their payload capacity, with some manufacturers claiming select 1/2 ton pickups can haul over 2000 lbs, some 3/4 ton pickups/3500 lbs, and some 1 ton pickups/over 6000 lbs. Check out this recent breakdown of newer pickup truck models, rated for load capacity.
Still, it’s best to be cautious, and not skate too close to the limits. You won’t know the exact weight of the pallet, as it’s difficult to determine the amount of moisture in each bag, and that can make a lot of difference. You wouldn’t want to ruin your suspension system by overloading your pickup, when it’s easy enough to use a trailer, or split a load in half and make 2 trips, or even pay for delivery.
How Expensive is a Pallet of Mulch?
Depending on the type of mulch and size of the bags, a pallet of mulch can range from $300 – $400 for wood mulch, and $600 – $850 for rubber mulch. If you can catch a mulch sale, the cost may decrease by $100 or more.
The best way to avoid spending too much during the year on mulch is to plan ahead and buy it in bulk. Calculate how much mulch you’ll need for the entire year, and if you anticipate you’ll be needing more than 50 bags, buying a pallet might save you money and time.
If you have bags of mulch left over at the end of the season, be sure to store them away from inclement weather. By doing so, you’ll have a head start on your landscaping projects next year.
Michelle Weaver is a former pastry chef of thirty years who reinvented herself during the pandemic, now happily earning a living through freelance writing and selling her art. She and her significant other live in an 1895 farmhouse in North Carolina, where they have several acres, allowing her to garden to her heart’s content. When she’s not playing in the dirt, she enjoys hiking in the nearby mountains, creating new vegetarian recipes, and photographing the wildlife that comes to visit.