Provided by the Bucks County Department of Consumer Protection:

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It is that time of year when Bucks County Weights and Measures receives many calls from residents asking questions about mulch purchases. Almost everywhere you look, garden beds in front yards are being replenished with fresh mulch. After the Winter season, your flower beds could use some TLC. Your flower beds, trees, and bushes will look so much fresher with new mulch and or topsoil. But how do you determine how much to order? Will you know for sure that the correct amount was delivered? Did you purchase quality mulch?

The rule for determining how much mulch or topsoil you will need is this:

·       One cubic yard will cover 162 square feet at a thickness of two inches. The first step is to figure out the square footage of the area that you want covered. Measure each bed by its length and width, and then multiply those numbers to get the square feet. After accounting for each bed, add up the square footage. That will give you an accurate idea of how much mulch you will need.

The following are some important things to know if you are considering calling a company to deliver mulch or topsoil to your home or business:

·       When the delivery truck arrives, you should inspect the load before it is dumped. Make sure it is free from trash and other debris. Using subpar mulch made from garden debris can introduce invasive weeds. It can be filled with all sorts of junk you don’t want in your bed. If your mulch introduces weeds into your plant beds, it completely defeats the purpose of mulching in the first place. Also, When you see mulch that looks like it’s turning gray in the sun, you know it’s not a high-quality colorized mulch.

·       While the mulch or soil is still in the truck or once it is dumped, check to be certain that the amount that you ordered is the amount that was delivered.

·       Mulch and topsoil are sold by volume and should be sold in terms of a cubic yard which is 27 cubic feet. You can measure the load in cubic feet before it is dumped or unloaded by simply multiplying the length, width, and height of the load. Keep in mind the load will have settled some while in transit. Use decimals for inches. For example, 3 ½ feet would be 3.50.   Then, divide the number by 27 to get the number of cubic yards.

·       Please remember, if the mulch appears to be of sub-standard quality, you may refuse the delivery.

·       Be sure to obtain a receipt with the name and address of the mulch delivery business on it. The receipt should also state the amount of mulch that was delivered.

To learn how to protect yourself from scams and fraud, please visit our website at

Monthly Fraud Alerts brought to you by Bucks County Crimes Against Older Adults Task Force 24-hour hotline: 1-800-490-8505, Bucks County District Attorney’s Office: 215-348-6344, A Woman’s Place (AWP): 1-800-220-8116, Bucks County Area Agency on Aging: 267-880-5700, Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection: 215-348-6060, Bucks County Coroner’s Office: 215-348-3852, Bucks County Register of Wills: 215-348-6265, Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA): 1-800-675-6900, and U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services/OIG: 1-800-447-8477.

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