The seasonality of the landscaping industry makes it difficult for colored mulch manufacturers to predict exactly how much product they’ll need and when. That’s why many suppliers often end up storing a significant amount of mulch colorant, sometimes for months on end. While storing any product seems like a passive process, you actually need to be proactive to ensure you’re maintaining the colorant properly or it could become unusable, wasting your investment. Here are some helpful tips on storing and maintaining your mulch colorant so you can produce the best product at the lowest cost for your business.
Mulch colorant storage
To limit waste and get the best performance out of your mulch colorant, you need to store it properly. In general, this means keeping totes and drums inside, in a temperature-controlled environment. This will keep the chemical elements in the colorant from becoming compromised.
Here are some tips for storing your mulch colorant:
- Avoid direct sunlight as this can cause a crust to form on top of the colorant, especially liquid carbon black dispersions.
- Avoid extreme heat and cold, which can negatively impact the performance of colorant.
- Do not let your colorant freeze.
- Preferred storage temperatures are between 40o and 90oF.
- Keep container tightly closed during storage.
- Do not contaminate with other materials.
If you choose to store the colorant outdoors, try to limit the time it sits outside and reduce exposure to the elements as best you can. If a tote sits in direct sunlight for only a week, it should be ready for use with no problem. After a few weeks, it would take intense mixing to revive the product. And after a few months, it may become unusable. This is especially true if you leave totes outside over the winter in a northern climate.
As a general rule, always make sure you're using the First In, First Out (FIFO) method for storage and use, so that you are always using the oldest dated product first. This will help ensure better colorant performance and help cut down on wasted materials.
Mulch colorant maintenance
To get the best performance from your mulch colorant, you can’t just let it sit on the shelf for months on end. You need to perform routine maintenance. Thankfully, the process is simple and can be completed with minimal effort.
To maintain your mulch colorant, we recommend you mix your entire inventory every 90 days, at minimum. If you can commit to mixing it once a month, even better. Mixing colorant is necessary because the pigment in the colorant will naturally settle to the bottom of the tote or drum over time. The longer you store the colorant, the more settling you’ll see. If left unchecked, the pigment can become hard packed, which will reduce performance of the product.
We recommend using a power mixer for 5-10 minutes on a drum, and 20-30 minutes on a tote. You should also use a hand mixer to get into the corners of the tote and mix any pigment that may have collected there.
You will also need to mix your colorant immediately before use. But by following these simple steps for storing and maintaining your colorant, you’ll limit wasted material, ensure complete coverage and produce the best possible product for your customers.
If you’ve experienced problems with pigment settling in the past, consider the innovative lineup of mulch colorants from ChromaScape's Amerimulch product. All of our products are uniquely engineered to preserve pigment suspension, reducing mixing time and ensuring you get optimal performance for all of your colored mulch products.