Mulch Industry Trend Update

| Industry Insights

The color-enhanced landscape mulch market saw explosive growth from 2000 to 2015 when yards produced went from less than 5,000,000 to over 55,000,000. Since 2015 the market has stabilized and continued to grow at a steadier pace. Currently, there are 1,069 national and international mulch producers, generating over 53,000,000 yards of mulch annually, according to statistics gathered by Amerimulch.

As with many industries, the mulch industry has continued to evolve and transform to meet the changing consumer demands, including following geographical trends. Variables such as mulch color, feedstock and packaging options continue to adjust over time. Staying in tune to these variables and understanding the trends that are occurring is the key to staying in front of the demands and ensuring equipment, materials and process will adequately meet the needs now and in the future.

National Colorant Trends


mulch color trend chart 2017

This graph represents percentages of the color-enhanced mulch market based on Amerimulch customer data.

“We’ve also continued to see the current color trend go from red being the most popular color in the early 2000s, to darker colors in recent years. In 2017, brown colorant was the most popular,” said Scott Thompson, Amerimulch General Manager.

Colors also vary by geographical region and by what type of feedstock is being used. Brown and black mulch are most popular in the Northeast and Midwest, while red dominates the market in the Southern regions. Brown colorant also produces the most consistent color for mulch produced from green waste, which has become the most popular fiber source for color-enhanced mulch.

Fiber Sources

Availability and cost of the fiber source can factor into the decision on what raw material is used to produce colored mulch. Currently, less green waste is being burned or allowed in landfills, which creates the need for an outlet. Utilizing a wood fiber that is the most readily available results in a more cost effective approach to producing color-enhanced mulch.

wood fiber source chart 2017

This graph represents the total number of yards produced by fiber source in the mulch market based on Amerimulch customer data.

Based on information gathered through 2017, 80% of colored-enhanced mulch is produced using mixed green waste, followed by pallet fiber (12%), wood chips (7%) and bark (2%).  Accounting for the 80% of the color-enhanced mulch that is produced using mixed green waste is an astonishing figure of 42,029,662 yards annually.

In addition to color and fiber trends, customer demand has also changed the packaging options for color-enhanced mulch. The increase in demand for bagged color-enhanced mulch, typically purchased from home improvement stores, has driven the growth of the bagged mulch market. While this shift provides additional opportunities for the market, it also requires an understanding of effective and efficient ways to provide consumers with the packaging options they are looking for.

As we have seen in the past, the color-enhanced landscape mulch market will continue to grow and change as a result of changing consumer demands. Properly maintaining your equipment and keeping up with industry and customer trends will help ensure your success.

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