Mulch is a key part of effective landscaping and crop development. Whether store-bought or naturally sourced, mulch has many benefits which ramp up demand for it to tremendous levels. To help cater to this demand, mulch suppliers make use of pallets for storage and transportation.
On a standard-sized mulch pallet a normal item count is 54 bags of 2.8 cubic feet and 45 bags of 3 cubic feet. 2 Cubic foot bags will amount to 65 per pallet. When the mulch bags are filled with gravel, 20 to 22 bags per pallet is normal.
Today we will be discussing the math behind a pallet’s carrying capacity. Just how many bags of mulch can a pallet support? How much does a pallet of mulch weigh?
Let’s find out.
How many 2 cubic feet bags of mulch are on a pallet?
For many people, mulch is sourced freely from nature, landscaping remnants, and the local community. Things like wood shavings and straw are among the most common mulching materials used for agriculture and landscaping.
There are 20 to 65 2 cubit feet bags of mulch on normal pallets. For bark mulch a normal number will be 60 to 65 bags. For rubber mulch, it will be more or less the same since pallets can handle the heavier weight. For stone or gravel mulch expect around 20 bags due to weight issues.
Logistics are usually not a very precisely monitored aspect for free mulch, as people typically carry as much as they need or as much as they can.
Things are a little different on the commercial side…
Commercial mulch producers are all about logistics in a bid to meet the ever-increasing demand. A key element of logistical endeavors is the systemized packaging system. In North America, mulch bags are measured in cubic feet.
While there are no set industry standards, a lot of manufacturers produce compressed 2 cubic foot bags, which is the figure we’ll be working with.
According to Royal Wood Shavings, a bedding company that primarily focuses on horse stabling and bedding, a standard-sized pallet (48 by 40 inches) can hold 54 bags of 2.8 cubic feet and 45 bags of 3 cubic feet. Using reverse math, we find that this translates to roughly 135 bags at one cubic foot.
Half that figure and you get 67 ½ bags at 2 cubic feet.
Of course, precise numbers are subject to various factors.
The weight of the specific mulch material is one of the main factors behind a pallet’s total carrying capacity. Mulch materials range from wood shavings to pellets and rubber, which means some of them are heavier and denser than others.
A 2 cubic foot bag of rubber mulch can weigh nearly 90 pounds, while a similar bag of river rock mulch weighs 200 pounds. A bag of straw mulch weighs about 30 pounds. This clearly shows that it’s not possible to strictly adhere to the capacity figures we touched on earlier. Mulch products are just too variable for a consistent rule.
Wood pallets used for mulch
Another important factor is the nature of the pallet itself. While pallets typically have the same loading area, they differ in composition and style. These differences have a direct influence on carrying capacity.
The block pallet is arguably the most “generic” loading pallet there is. Like most pallets, it is made of wood. Standard block pallets feature an upper deck made up of 4 or more separate planks. The deck is held up by 12 columns that facilitate forklift access from all four directions. Some block pallets also feature a lower deck.
Block pallets are multi-purpose, with application in innumerable industries for both storage and shipping. They are cheap to buy and pretty easy to make, which only increases their popularity.
The stringer pallet is a spin-off of the two-deck block pallet that is also pretty popular. Stringers feature two planks that connect the upper and lower decks on opposite sides, which closes off two of the four forklift access notches of a block pallet.
However, what you lose in forklift access, you gain in carrying capacity. The additional support provided by the added planks gives stringer pallets an edge over block pallets when it comes to raw carrying capacity.
Double Face Pallets
Double face pallets are another type of wood pallet. These pallets are defined by their two faces, which are often comprised of single wood boards. They are also supported by 12 columns, which means four-way forklift access. Naturally, you can use either face for your loads.
Double face pallets have similar carrying capacities as standard block pallets, although some people argue that they are superior.
Solid Deck Pallets
Solid deck pallets are kind of similar to double face pallets…except for the double face. They feature a solid face supported by 12 or more columns. Four-way forklift access is the norm.
The lack of a lower deck means a reduced level of support, which means these pallets are best suited to carrying and shipping lighter loads. Solid deck pallets can also be modified with side support planks to boost carrying capacity at the expense of forklift access.
Plastic pallets used for mulch
Plastic is the other major material used to make pallets.
Plastic pallets are typically more costly than their wooden counterparts, but they boast a few advantages. Plastic pallets are more likely to be compliant with various international shipping regulations, for instance. They are also better suited to storing things in high moisture conditions.
Injection mold pallets
The first plastic pallet type we’ll look at is the injection molded pallet. These pallets are the plastic equivalent of solid wooden deck pallets. Unlike, wooden pallets though, these pallets are better equipped for handling moist loads such as wet wood shavings.
Injected molded pallets offer decent carrying capacity as well as forklift/jack access from four directions.
Finally, we have roto-molded pallets, which are plastic pallets made using rotational molding. These are typically used to transport things like seafood and meats because they are impervious to moisture and easy to clean.
Roto-molded pallets often resemble solid deck pallets and offer four-way forklift accessibility. The carrying capacity of a standard-sized roto-molded pallet is pretty much the same as that of an injection mold.
However, if you want even more strength, you can opt for a roto-molded pallet that is enhanced with steel frames.
What does a pallet of mulch weigh?
The type of pallet, the type of mulch, and how many are used in a stack according to the bag size all determine how much weight in total it will have. So, let’s look at a rundown of a couple different scenarios.
A pallet of straw mulch, including the weight of the pallet, weighs in at 2,500 lbs. to 2,750 lbs. The weight of a pallet of bark mulch with the pallet included is 1,200 lbs. to 1,359 lbs. A pallet of rubber mulch is about double that of straw mulch at 4,500 lbs. to 4,750 lbs.
Lets look at how much each component of a mulch pallet weighs (dry weight).
|Pallets and/or Mulch||Weight|
|Plastic Pallets||30 lbs|
|Wood Pallets||50 lbs|
|Bark Mulch (2 cubic foot bag)||20 lbs|
|Straw Mulch (2 cubic foot bag)||30 lbs|
|Rubber Mulch (2 cubic foot bag)||90 lbs|
|Stone Mulch (2 cubic foot bag)||200 lbs|
Again, this varies depending on the number of bags the pallet is carrying, the weight of those bags, and the weight of the pallet itself.
Pallets (wood or plastic) can weigh anywhere between 30-50 pounds.
According to shipping experts Freight Quote, a standard pallet can support loads of up to 4,600 pounds.
If we play around with some of the numbers we’ve pointed out above, we can see that a fully loaded pallet carrying 67 ½ bags of straw mulch would weigh around 2,700 (plus the weight of the pallet).
If you wanted to store bags of rubber mulch similarly, you would need a pallet with a carrying capacity of at least 6,075 pounds.
The Final Touches On How Many Bags Of Mulch Per Pallet…
Pallets have a high end to their weight limits, which can limit the number of bags if the mulch is something like gravel or stone. This limit normally doesn’t come into play when talking about most mulches, especially when they are dry.
There is normally around 50 to 70 bags of mulch on a given pallet whether it is straw, rubber, or bark mulch. The warehouse, store, or landscaping retailer will have their own standards regarding how they like to ship, store, and receive these pallets.
With weight measuring in the multiple thousands, a proper hand-jack (electric or manual) is necessary to handle this many bags of mulch. If you have access to a forklift, these can also work.
If you are needing this many bags delivered, there will also be a delivery charge that could range from $60 to $100. They will also need a level place to offload.
I have done this and it works out great. I have also had many loads of mulch of all kinds delivered in dump style trucks and offloaded in a large pile. Both ways have their plusses and minuses.
Here’s hoping your next mulching project goes smoothly!