Benefits of Blowing Mulch
Have you heard about blowing mulch? Well, from the word itself, you’ll get the idea of what it is. But a good explanation with blowing mulch is the use of machines we call “mulch blowers” to spread mulch into the soil. Large machines are used which are pulled by trucks. These machines are equipped with diesel engines and they have conveyor systems inside that load mulch into the paddle and feed it into the hose. Large fans push the mulch out through a large hose. The worker on the other end of the hose directs the hose on where the mulch should land.
Other people call the mulch blower the bark blower because mainly what are being used as mulches come from the bark of the trees like cedar, pines, firs, hemlock and sometimes mixed with moss and charcoal. Other forms of mulch are shredded leaves, wood chips, coir, and wood shavings. If you are new to mulching or don’t know much about mulching, it is the method of covering the soil with organic materials that come from plant parts which when it breaks down releases macro and micro-nutrients into the soil which the plants can benefit from.
Mulching has been a practice since man learned the importance of soil cover using plant parts from harvested plants. But today, we only use certain types of plants and tree parts including those we mentioned above. We also have machines for quicker mulch installation and eventually eliminate the laborious tasks of manually loading and unloading the organic materials and spreading them out into the soil. With the blowing mulch machines, the laborious tasks of mulching installation are now easier.
Benefits of Mulching
Before we tackle how blowing mulch brings about advantages than manually spreading mulch, let’s summarize first about the advantages of mulching. Mulching is the process of covering the soil with layers of organic materials that previously grew from the soil itself like plants and tree parts. Mulch can conserve moisture in the soil, preventing weeds from growing, and can enhance the soil structure and improve the soil’s fertility. So if we look at the whole process of mulching, it is just a cycle – we plant, we harvest and we put the wastes back into the soil.
Even in the forest, we have what we call forestry mulching where large machines we call “forestry mulchers” do the job of cutting, grinding and spreading the mulch back into the forest soil while allowing the land under the trees to be used for other purposes. Farmers also use mulching to protect their crops from the harsh environment. Even at home, most of us have the mower mulchers that mow and turn grass clippings into mulch. Mulch can keep the soil cooler in hot weather and warm on cold weather.
With mulch installation, any individual who wants to have good production from his crops can benefit from mulch. Housewives and hobbyists who grow ornamental plants or have vegetable gardens at home can derive a lot of benefits from mulching for their plants also. Mulching is the most natural way of improving soil fertility while it reduces the use of inorganic materials like synthetic fertilizers that can have bad consequences on our environment, particularly on our water reservoirs.
Advantages of Using a Bark Blower
If you want to have the fastest way of mulch installation, the use of the bark blower can provide it to you. But first, remember that bark blowers are not only capable of blowing bark mulch but all kinds of mulch like we have specified above. How long does mulch last will depend on the type of mulch you prefer though the most possible time for re-mulching would be once or twice a year.
Here are some of the advantages of blowing mulch
Fastest mulch application
Fastest mulch application. Using bark blowers can save you a lot of time. Basically, only two workers are involved in the operation of mulch blowers. One operating the machine and the other will be directing the large hose to where the mulch should land. According to some mulch blowing service companies, these two workers can equal the capacities of 10 workers working manually – from hauling the mulch from the trucks to spreading it using tools.
A bark blowing machine and two workers are cheaper to hire than lots of workers working at the same time. So time and human effort are also being saved.
Better quality work
Before workers are put in the blowing mulch work, they are trained for many hours to ensure that they apply the right amount of mulch including following the proper depth of mulch on the field. They are also closely monitored by their supervisors and will not leave the area with an inefficient outcome.
Safer for workers
DIY mulch installation is a physically demanding job. Not only it is repetitive but also back-breaking which can put the safety of workers at risk. With a bark blower, almost everything is mechanized.
Can access all areas
No matter how steep, narrow, or far the area that needs mulching, as long as the truck can haul the machine and its long hoses can reach, the mulching installation would not be a problem.
Space Required For Mulch Installation
There are a lot of areas that the use of mulch blowers is more practical than hiring people to manually do the mulching. Some of the best candidates for bark blower use are around parks that have large tracts of lands that need to be planted with grass, trees, hedgerows and bushes. Most universities also have their wide, open fields that also need to grow their grass. Even the malls that maintain parks and parking lots also have spaces for plants and trees. Churches, sports arenas, and public playgrounds also have their lots to keep grass and trees growing. And you can also see that some of our main highways have aisles and centers planted with grass, shrubs and small trees and these would not thrive if not for the use of mulch.
If you look at it, any soil that needs to be grown with vegetables, ornamental plants, herbs, or any beneficial plants should have their soils covered with mulch. So when the areas to cover became so large, this is the time that mulch installation services should be of help.
Usually, bark blower service companies own two types of machines for mulch blowing. They have the large machines that are hauled by tractors or trucks for mulching huge tracts of lands. They also have the smaller bark blower machines that can be towed by smaller vehicles and are manually fed by workers using pitchforks. These smaller bark blowers are ideal for city use like home yards, parking spaces, around condominiums, apartments, chapels and office buildings. So any space small or large can be serviced by mulch blowers or bark blowers.
The DIY Preparation for Mulch and Method of Mulch Installation
If you have a garden or a yard at home where you want to grow plants or grass, you can also do your own mulching installation. All you gotta do is check for packed mulches that are sold online and ask the sellers for the cost of each bag and how much does a bag of mulch weigh. But if you have a lot of plant sources for the raw materials for mulching, you can also create your own mulch. Do you want to try?
Here are the step-by-step guides for DIY mulching:
Choose an area. The area for mulching should be fenced to keep out pets and wild animals from disturbing the mulch. It should also be in the open space for proper aeration.
Clean the area for the mulch bed. You have to clear the area out of weeds, grass, stones, rock and debris. Make sure that even the roots of the weeds are pulled out. If there’s too much of them use a hoe to cultivate the soil so that even the roots are removed. Don’t use herbicides or weed killers as this leaves poison into the soil.
Choose your raw materials
It could be the cut grass collected from your neighborhood or from your lawn that’s why having a good reliable lawn mower is important. The mulch materials could also be a variety of overgrowths like vines, soft bushes and soft branches from trees that you have collected from using a brush cutter.
Look for forestry mulch.
If you live near forested areas where some forestry mulching is happening, ask the contractor to provide you some of the shredded materials you can mulch at home. Tree barks and wood chips are good sources of nutrients including leaves and pine needles.
Rent a mulcher for leaves
You want your mulch to be more shredded? You can rent a leaf mulcher. Our recommendation is the bladed leaf mulcher which can shred any type of organic material into a more refined product. Don’t forget to protect your eyes with safety glasses while using the machine.
Pile all the materials neatly on the bed mulch
Add compost if you want to enrich the mulch better with more nutrients. Compost is optional but it will help the mulch to decay much faster. If you don’t want to spend time preparing and using mulch while it is in its decomposition state, you can also directly apply the mulch materials right into the soil.
Spread the mulch evenly on the soil
After about 2 weeks when you see signs of decomposition, haul and spread the mulch evenly on the soil but should not be more than 2 inches high or it could produce so much heat and kill the plants. Also, avoid covering the stems of the plants or trees with too much mulch.
Add more mulch once it gets to about 1-inch high
Check the height of the mulch once a week or twice a month. Once it reaches 1-inch high, better put on more mulch because, at this height, mulch would not be effective anymore. Also, when mulch gets compacted, loosen it with a rake before adding more. This is to allow the nutrients from the new compost to pass through the old compost.
How Long Does Mulch Last?
How long does mulch last depends on the components and size of the mulch. Wood chips can completely degrade in a year. Leaves are even quicker to decompose and most of it will be blown by the wind. Bark mulches are the types of mulch that can last longer. These are wastes that come from furniture makers and sawmills that throw out barks as wastes.
These wood users sell these barks to gardening stores and bark blowing mulch providers at low cost and the providers use grinders to cut these into smaller pieces. Bark mulch can last for an average of 6 years before it gets completely degraded but that is for the hardest types of barks.
Here is the list of bark mulch types that come from different kinds of trees and are mostly used for mulch installation using a bark blower. Included are the benefits it gives to the soil and plants.
Cedar bark mulch
This type of mulch is best for vegetable gardens or fruiting veggies. It can emit a certain type of aroma with its oil that most insects avoid. It also adds an aesthetic appeal on the ground because of its golden color so it fits to any kind of outdoor surrounding. However, cedar bark can compact much easier so loosen it regularly so that underneath it can be aerated and prevent the growth of soil-borne diseases.
Pine bark mulch
Considered as one of the most sought after among the bark mulches, this is popular for use on potting plants, growing trees and shrubs. It doesn’t get compact easily and can retain its moisture longer so it can protect plants much better with changing temperatures. The old bark is better as it provides flowering plants the nutrients to help them bloom. How much a bag of mulch weighs depends on the mixture as sometimes this is combined with spruce barks.
Hemlock bark mulch
This type of bark mulch has a rich and lively color and keeps its color longer even under the sun. Popular among gardeners, it has just the right components that can balance the acidity of the soil which is great for water-loving plants. Great for fruit-bearing plants and vegetables, it can also keep weeds at bay. So when it comes to beauty and benefits, the hemlock bark carries it all.
Here are more quick tips:
Pine mulch easily gets degraded so if you want to avoid adding mulch twice a year, don’t use it. If you want a longer-lasting mulch, prefer the Cedar or hemlock. These may be pricier but you don’t need to mulch more often. Also, avoid choosing mulch that has thicker chips because these are more resilient and take time to break down so these are almost useless for the soil and plants.
How Much Does a Bag of Mulch Weigh?
We often get this question from people who read our articles and get interested to try mulching and their often question is how much does a bag of mulch weigh. Well, some bags can weigh 20 pounds and the much bigger can weigh 50 pounds which are equivalent to 9.07 to 22.67 kg. There is also the weight per cubic yard if you want to mulch large areas around your home that can range from 400 to 800 pounds (181 to 362 kg) but it still depends on the moisture content of the mulch. But basically, people estimate that for 2.5 cubic feet of mulch made of straw which is lighter, this can weigh about 50 pounds or 22.2 kg.
At Amazon, a 4-qt of pure pine bark weighs a little more than 2.5. With cedar bark, the same amount can only weigh 1.3 pounds. For the smaller package, a bag of cocoa mulch can weigh about 5 pounds or about 11 kilograms. Take note that all bark mulch types change their densities and sizes once they absorb water. Some may shrink and some may swell. So when measuring the thickness of your mulch, do it while it is in its regular state.
If you want to build your garden or want to have the most natural form of bark mulch for your potting media, you can order bark mulch right from Amazon and you can even check the description of the mulch there and these are free from soil-borne diseases.
Blowing mulch is seen as the fastest way for mulch installation using a bark blower. If you have an open wide space, renting the services of a mulch blower can save you more money and you don’t have to break your back or wait too long to cover your soil with effective mulch.
Mulching is the best way to fertilize our soil and plants through the organic method. It is a slow but sure process of soil enhancement. It can also serve as the best cover for all types of soil. Some people prefer rock mulching which uses different types of rocks and stones to cover the soil. Rock mulch can also protect the soil from erosion and the plants from harsh temperatures. But it still cannot provide the plants the nutrition it deserves compared with the organic mulch.
For our next blog, we will discuss more about the best mulcher for leaves. These are about machines that can shred many types of plant organic materials for use in mulching.