Q&A Disclaimer

We are a team of highly experienced professionals with a C61 / D64 contractor’s license specializing in the installation of bark mulch.

We believe in sharing valuable information and knowledgeable opinions to help you make informed decisions regarding your decorative bark mulch installation needs. Our opinions are shaped by our personal experiences, direct observations, and extensive exposure to the landscape maintenance industry.

It’s important for us to emphasize that although we have confidence in our abilities and opinions, it’s never a bad idea to seek the input of other qualified experts and/or related reference materials prior to making any decisions.

Section 1: Applied Landscape Materials Company Overview

No job is too far for us…
We’ve worked from Redding all the way down to Bakersfield and everywhere in-between.

Q: Who is Applied Landscape Materials and what do they do?

Contractor’s License No. 906546
DIR No. 1000011263
Certified Small Business No. 1798372

Applied Landscape Materials is a top Better Business Bureau rated, family owned business that was founded in 2006. We are focus on providing and installing natural and recycled wood mulch materials to commercial, municipal, educational, and homeowner clients throughout Northern California.

Our singular focus and deep expertise in the bark supply and installation industry allow us to provide exceptional value to our clients by reducing costs, streamlining operations, investing in top-notch equipment, and innovating to stand out from competitors

Our business is committed to giving back to the communities we serve by leveraging our technology, people, time, and resources to make a positive impact in the Greater Northern California region. We donate time, services, and materials to non-profit organizations and water conservation programs to support this commitment.

Choosing to support a small business like ours is more than just a purchase; it’s an investment in the dreams and passions of people who pour their hearts and souls into their work. You’re helping build a stronger community and making a real difference in the lives of your neighbors. Thank you for being a part of this meaningful journey

Section 2: Bark Blowing Industry Q&A

Q: What is a mulch blowing truck?

Bark blowing machines revolutionized the labor-intensive process of manually applying bark mulch by introducing a more efficient and cost-effective method in the late 1980s.

A mulch blower truck is a specialized vehicle that uses compressed air to apply mulch quickly and evenly. Mulch blower trucks usually have an additional engine to power the truck-mounted blower, along with augers, hoppers, a long hose, and a nozzle.

Today, the bark blowing industry is a well-established and thriving part of the landscaping business, with a range of different machines and techniques available to apply bark mulch quickly and efficiently to all types of landscaping projects.

Mulch blower trucks offer an efficient solution for applying mulch to large, inaccessible, or steep areas, saving time and labor costs compared to manual methods. However, due to the high cost of equipment and technical maintenance requirements, mulch blowing services are not widely offered by landscape companies. At Applied Landscape Materials we have 15 of these specialized trailers and a dedicated factory trained technician.

Q: What are the advantages of using a bark blowing truck?

There are many here a just a few…

  1. Save time and money by having professional bark blowers handle the mulch application
  2. Ensure even and uniform coverage across large areas (which is unobtainable by hand)
  3. Allow for precise and accurate application of mulch in difficult hard to access areas
  4. Enable precise control of mulch depth and coverage
  5. Provide a clean and professional-looking finish
  6. Minimize the need for heavy equipment
  7. Avoid damage to existing plants, landscaping features and soil
  8. Provide a cost-effective alternative to manual mulch application
  9. Reduce the amount of waste generated during mulch application
Q: How does the speed of having bark blown in compare to not having it blown in?

The speed at which mulch can be applied using a mulch blower compared to manual methods will depend on several factors, including the size of the area to be covered and the type of mulch being used. Bark blowing becomes increasingly advantageous as the area to be covered increases or has steep slopes.

Typically, an experienced operator using a mulch blower can apply mulch at a rate of 70 cubic yards per hour. This is in contrast to the team of four individuals who need a whole day to install 70 cubic yards of bark manually. In addition to being faster, using a mulch blower can also help to ensure a more even and consistent application of mulch, which can be difficult to achieve manually.

Q: Does a mulch blower harm my plants?

No. A mulch blower, when used properly, will not harm your plants. In fact, using a mulch blower can be a great way to apply mulch without causing damage to surrounding plants and trees.

When a mulch blower system is used properly and with care, it can be an effective and efficient way to apply mulch while avoiding damage to surrounding plants. It’s always a good idea to hire a professional with experience using a mulch blower to ensure that the mulch is applied correctly and that your plants are protected.

Even though the process is carried out by humans, and we acknowledge that no one is flawless, there is a slight possibility that a plant may be damaged. However, we want to assure you that we will handle your property with the utmost care and diligence, just as we would treat our own home. Additionally, a team leader inspects every property after the installation to ensure quality control and address any necessary corrections.

Section 3: Bark Mulch General Information Q&A

Q: What are the benefits of incorporating bark mulch into your landscape?

There are several benefits of using bark mulch on your landscape, including:

  1. Weed suppression: Bark mulch can help to suppress the growth of weeds in your landscape, reducing the need for manual weeding and herbicides.
  2. Moisture retention: Bark mulch can help to retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for watering and helping to keep plants healthy and hydrated.
  3. Temperature regulation: Bark mulch can help to regulate soil temperature, keeping it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
  4. Soil enrichment: As bark mulch decomposes, it adds organic matter to the soil, which can improve soil structure and fertility.
  5. Erosion control: Bark mulch can help to prevent soil erosion by reducing the impact of heavy rain or wind on the soil surface.
  6. Aesthetics: Bark mulch can provide a clean and uniform appearance to your landscape, enhancing the overall look of your garden or outdoor space.

Overall, using bark mulch can provide numerous benefits for your landscape, helping to improve the health and appearance of your plants while reducing the time and effort needed to maintain them.

Q: Is bark helpful during drought years?

Bark mulch is a valuable tool to combat drought conditions as it reduces soil evaporation and helps to retain moisture. By creating a protective barrier between the soil and direct sunlight and wind, bark mulch helps to prevent rapid drying of the soil. The use of bark mulch slows down moisture evaporation and keeps the soil moist for a longer period, reducing the need for frequent watering.

Apart from aiding water retention, bark mulch offers other benefits such as preventing soil erosion, suppressing weed growth, and enhancing soil quality as it decomposes and adds organic matter to the soil.

Q: Is bare soil bad for plants?

Failing to cover the soil in your landscape can potentially harm the growth and health of your plants. Here are a few reasons why bare soil can be detrimental:

  1. Soil erosion: When soil is left uncovered, it is more susceptible to erosion from wind and rain. Erosion can lead to the loss of valuable topsoil and can damage plant roots, making it more difficult for plants to grow.
  2. Water loss: Bare soil can also lead to increased water loss due to evaporation, which can be harmful to plants. Mulching or planting ground cover can help retain moisture in the soil, making it more available to plants.
  3. Weeds: Bare soil can also be an invitation for weed growth. Weeds can compete with your plants for water and nutrients, and can reduce overall plant growth and health.
  4. Soil compaction: Soil left exposed to the elements can become compacted, making it more difficult for plant roots to penetrate the soil and take up water and nutrients.

To avoid these negative effects, it’s generally a good idea to cover bare soil with some type of organic matter, such as bark mulch. This can help improve soil health, retain moisture, and reduce weed growth.

Q: Can bark mulch stop weeds from growing?

Yes, mulch can help to suppress weed growth. Mulch forms a barrier that blocks sunlight from reaching weed seeds and prevents them from germinating. In addition to blocking sunlight, mulch also helps to retain soil moisture, which can make it more difficult for weeds to establish themselves.

Q: How long should my bark mulch last?

The lifespan of decorative bark depends on the type of bark, the quality of the bark, and the environmental conditions it is exposed to. In general, decorative bark can last anywhere from one to four years.

Thinner types of decorative bark have a tendency to decompose at a faster rate. As the layer of mulch becomes thinner, it loses its ability to prevent the growth of weeds and to retain moisture. Due to its quicker decomposition rate, thinner varieties of decorative bark require more frequent renewal, thereby necessitating the application of new mulch sooner.

Q: Where does Applied Landscape Materials source their bark mulch from?

Most of our materials are obtained directly from one of the largest lumber manufacturing companies in the United States, which happens to be conveniently located in Northern California. Fortunately, this mill produces “forest grade” material, which is one of the highest quality decorative landscape bark mulch materials available. Forest grade bark is often considered better than lower-grade barks for decorative barking needs because it tends to have a higher quality and consistency.

Benefits of Forest Grade Bark and Chips.

  1. Forest-grade bark is more consistent as it’s typically harvested from a single species or small group of species, making it uniform and desirable for commercial applications.
  2. Forest-grade bark has fewer impurities, such as rocks, dirt, or other debris, making it healthier for plants and maintaining soil conditions.
  3. Forest-grade bark has a higher moisture content, which helps retain soil moisture and creates a stable environment for plant growth.
  4. Forest-grade bark may have higher nutrient content, promoting plant growth and health.
  5. Medium grind forest grade bark and chips have a longer lifespan due to their larger particle size, which retains their aesthetic appearance for a more extended period.
  6. Wood chips used as landscape bark reduce greenhouse gas emissions by releasing less carbon than when sent to landfills, where anaerobic conditions promote the production of methane.
  7. Wood chips used as mulch help retain moisture in soil, prevent erosion, and provide organic matter and natural fertilizer, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers.
  8. By using wood chips as mulch, carbon can be sequestered in the soil instead of being released into the atmosphere, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and mitigates climate change.

Using forest grade wood chips as landscape bark offers a range of benefits, including reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers, conserving water, preventing weed growth, reducing carbon output, and reducing waste.

Q: At what depth do most homeowners typically install bark mulch?

If you’re applying bark mulch to an area without any pre-existing vegetation or material, it’s usually recommended to use a layer of 3-5 inches in depth. This layer will serve several purposes, such as suppressing weed growth, retaining moisture in the soil, and regulating soil temperature, while also allowing for proper air and water exchange. It’s essential to keep an eye on the mulch layer and adjust it as necessary to ensure that it continues to provide the desired benefits for your specific situation.

To rejuvenate current bark mulch, it is advisable to apply a layer of 2-3 inches in depth, which may vary depending on the degree of decomposition of the existing bark.

Q: Are there chemicals in the bark that will harm my plants?

No. There are no chemicals in the bark (added in the dyeing process or natural) that will harm your plants.

Q: Does a hillside require more material than a flat area?

Yes, as the slope angle increases, the surface area of the slope also increases. This means that a steeper slope will have a larger surface area to cover than a more gradual slope with the same horizontal area.

However, the specific amount of material needed will depend on the degree of slope, the size of the area to be covered, and other factors such as the type of bark used and the desired thickness of the layer.

Q: What is the best bark for a steeper hillside application?

When selecting bark mulch for a hillside, it’s important to choose a type that will stay in place and not easily wash away with rain or wind. Coarse-textured bark mulch is usually a good choice for hillside applications, as it tends to interlock and hold together well.

Walk-On Cedar bark mulch is a popular choice for hillside applications because it has a natural tendency to interlock, which helps to prevent it from sliding down the hill. In addition, cedar bark has a natural resistance to decay, which means it can last longer than other types of mulch.

Please note: For extremely steep slope we can custom blend a mixture of shredded cedar and walk-on. This material mix is on a case-by-case scenario, is not always available and is special order only. Please note this mix will not last as long as the traditional walk-on material due to the fibrous content the shredded cedar.

Section 4: Ordering Material and Installation Services Q&A

Q: I don’t see prices on your website?

We apologize for any confusion caused by not listing prices on our website. Our pricing can vary based on multiple factors such as type material, quantity, driving distance from our office, complexity of install, distance of pull, segment (non-prevailing wage vs prevailing wage) and other individual customer needs.

We would be happy to provide you with a personalized quote based on your specific requirements. To receive a quote, please give us a call (916) 214-2503 or send us an email so we can discuss all the particulars of your job.

Please note: The more details you provide the faster we can turn around your proposal.

Q: How do I order bark mulch installation services from Applied Landscape Materials.
  1. Determine the amount of decorative bark needed by measuring the area to be covered. You can use our online calculator or consult with us for guidance.
  2. Request a written proposal by emailing us at iNeedBark@gmail.com or filling out the quote request form on our website (insert link).
  3. We will email you a written proposal within 24 hours of receiving your request.
  4. Review the proposal thoroughly.
  5. If you agree with the price and terms, provide written approval to Applied Landscape Materials to proceed.
  6. To provide approval, reply to the proposal email and include your written consent to schedule and install. Verbal approvals are not accepted. You can sign the proposal or include your consent in the email.
  7. Example: “I approve the pricing and agree to the terms and conditions. Please schedule my installation.”
  8. If you have a preferred installation date, communicate it in your approval email. c. Installations are scheduled based on the order of received approvals, not proposal dates.
  9. Send approval emails to our scheduler, who will contact you within 24 hours to schedule an installation date and time block.

All correspondence related to the installation, whether verbal or written, must include the proposal or invoice number for tracking purposes.

Q: What is the typical turnaround time for a quote?

Our team is committed to being responsive and providing you with the information you need in a timely manner. Our goal is to turn around all quote requests within 24hrs. Complex quotes may take up to 48 hours. To receive a quote either give us a call (916) 214-2503 and/or our fill out our quote form on our website.

Q: What is the standard measurement for selling bark?

Bark is typically sold by volume, rather than by weight or area. The most common units of volume for bark are cubic yards. The reason for this is that the weight of bark can vary depending on different factors such as the moisture content and the species of tree it comes from. It enables customers to more accurately determine the amount of bark they need for their project based on the area to be covered and the desired depth of the mulch.


Q: How much ground does a cubic yard of bark cover?

If you apply the bark at a depth of 3 inches, then a cubic yard of bark would cover an area of approximately 108 square feet. Here are some reference examples

> A small sized bedroom @ a 3” depth (approximately 10′ x 10′)

> A parking space for a car @ a 3” depth (approximately 9′ x 12′)


Q: How do I calculate the quantity of bark needed in cubic yards?

To determine the amount of mulch needed for your project, it’s important to answer a few key questions first. If you’re topping off an existing mulch bed or pathway, you’ll typically need less – usually one or two inches deep will suffice. However, if this is a new area of mulch application, you may need as much as three or four inches.

To calculate how much bark mulch you need for a certain area, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the area of the space you want to cover with mulch. Measure the length and width of the area in feet, and multiply the two numbers to get the square footage. For example, if the area is 10 feet wide and 20 feet long, the square footage is 200 square feet.
    • Keep in mind that this is just an estimate, and you may want to order slightly more to account for settling, uneven surfaces and slope.
  1. Determine the depth of mulch you want to apply. As mentioned earlier, a depth of two to three inches is usually sufficient for a topping off, while a new area may require three to five inches. For this example, let’s say you want to apply two inches of mulch.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for additional assistance and/or help with determining how much bark mulch you might need.  Email iNeedBark@gmail.com, Phone: (916) 214-2503.


Q: Can you visit my project site to help estimate the bark needed for my project?

Depending on where the job is located and the scope of the job, we can visit a project site to assist with estimating the amount of bark mulch needed. All project reviews will start with a Google review of the proposed job site (first step in any review is can our large trucks access the site safely). Please contact the office to discuss the possibility of having an estimator visit your project, Email iNeedBark@gmail.com, Phone: (916) 214-2503.

Q: What should I do to prep my yard for bark installation?

Preparing your yard before bark installation can help ensure that the process goes smoothly and the results are the best they can be (a shared responsibility!).

Here are some steps you can take to prepare your yard for bark installation:

  1. Clear the area: Before the installation, clear the area of any debris, trash, down limbs, rocks, weeds, or other materials that may interfere with the bark. This will help ensure an even application and reduce the risk of weeds or other vegetation growing through the mulch.
  2. Kids toys: Please put away all kids’ toys, trikes, bikes and balls prior to our arrival.
  3. Excrement: Please, please clean up any and all pet excrement.
  4. Trim plants: Trim any overgrown plants or branches near the area where the bark will be installed. This will make it easier for the installer to work and reduce the risk of damage to your plants during the installation.
  5. Water the area: To help settle the soil and ensure good adhesion, water the area a few days before installing the bark. Avoid watering on the installation day or overwatering in the days leading up to it, as this can create muddy soil that interferes with the installer’s work and equipment. Remember that puddles and air blowing equipment don’t go well together.
  6. If possible, edge any areas where the dirt is even with where the bark will be installed. There are several different ways to edge an area for bark installation. Some common methods include using landscape edging materials such as plastic or metal strips, installing a border of rocks or bricks, or digging a shallow trench around the perimeter of the area.
  7. Inspect your irrigation. Before installing the bark, take some time to inspect your irrigation system and make sure that it’s functioning properly. Check for any leaks, clogs, or damaged parts, and repair or replace them as needed. Test the system to make sure that each plant is receiving the appropriate amount of water, and make any necessary adjustments.

By following these steps, you can help ensure a successful bark installation and a beautiful landscape in your yard.

Q: Anything I should do on the day of the install?
  1. Close all doors and windows
  2. Make sure no cars are parked in manner that will interfere with our trucks.
  3. Unlock any/all gates so we can easily access your yard.
  4. Cover or remove anything that small amounts of dust may accumulate on (patio furniture).
  5. Please bring all pets inside and clean up all excrement.
  6. You may want to inform your surrounding neighbors.
  7. It is best to stay inside during the installation process.
  8. Turn off your sprinklers on the day of the install. We suggest watering after we leave during the hot summer months.
Q: Should I put down plastic or weed fabric under the bark?

Bark mulch (at 3 inches depth) controls weeds as effectively as plastic but with less effort. Some professionals believe that plastic or weed fabric can harm soil and plants by trapping moisture, preventing air and water from reaching the soil, and creating harmful conditions, including waterlogging, root rot, and the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi in an anaerobic environment.

For further guidance, please seek advice from a professional plant landscaper. Our expertise lies in bark application contracting, not landscaping. Landscapers apply their knowledge in horticulture, disease management, design principles, and construction techniques to enhance the beauty, functionality, and sustainability of outdoor areas.

Q: What is pre-emergent

Pre-emergent is a type of herbicide. Pre-emergent herbicides prevent weed seeds from germinating by forming a barrier that inhibits young roots’ growth. They are effective against annual weeds such as crabgrass, chickweed, and foxtail, but not perennial weeds that can regrow from their roots. Best applied in early spring or fall, before weed seeds sprout, they must be used carefully according to label instructions to avoid affecting desirable plants and harming aquatic life near bodies of water. Consult a professional to ensure safe and effective use in your garden or landscape.