A sizeable lot of trees can be beautiful, or it can be a hazardous eyesore. When a forested area is well-cared for and maintained, it creates a park-like atmosphere. But when it is left to itself and becomes overgrown, it can be unsightly and even become a fire hazard. How can these wild woods be tamed? The answer lies in forestry mulching.
What is Forestry Mulching?
What is forestry mulching, and why is it done? In general, mulching is the process of covering the soil’s surface with different types of material to suppress weed growth, preserve moisture, reduce soil deterioration, and supply nourishment. Mulch material is either organic and composed of formerly living materials like grass clippings, wood chips, shredded bark, sawdust, chopped leaves, compost, and paper, or manmade components including synthetic fabrics and black plastic. It is a form of silviculture, or the practice of controlling the growth of wooded areas. It encourages the growth of desirable vegetation and eliminates the less desirable.
Land clearing techniques have been used for many years. Recent innovations have updated traditional methods, which required a lengthy procedure of permits and site plans, hours of manual labor, a bulldozer or track hoe to rip and remove vegetation, a dump truck for hauling stumps and other intensive work requiring heavy-duty machinery. It resulted in cleared land, but often left the ground bare and unprotected. The forestry mulching performed today clears the ground using a specialized forestry mulching machine. This equipment clears, cuts and grinds unwanted vegetation, then spreads the resulting mulch behind it in a single streamlined process. This method is far less time-intensive, environmentally friendly, and leaves only natural mulch on the landscape.
Forestry mulching is fast and efficient.
The total duration of a forestry mulching job will vary depending on the total area, terrain, density and type of vegetation on the lot. However, a heavy-duty forestry mulcher can clear an average of fifteen acres of vegetation in a single day. It can clear one acre of land in about 2-3 hours.
Forestry mulching provides quick results.
A forestry mulcher grinds vegetation flush with the ground, leaving a protective covering of mulch as it goes, all in a single pass. It will immediately leave a layer of organic material that is both functional and attractive. Forestry mulching is a property improvement that also helps prevent soil erosion and also acts as a fire buffer. Mulching also aids with pasture restoration, raises PH levels and lowers soil acidity, making it a benefit to the soil in addition to creating a more desirable landscape.
How is land prepared for forestry mulching?
A successful forestry mulching project may require some groundwork to be done in advance. Site preparation eliminates unwanted trees and vegetation too large for the mulching equipment and creates an area that is ready for the forestry mulcher to come through. The site work is done through chemical preparation, mechanical preparation or a combination of both.
Chemical preparation employs targeted herbicides to control vegetation that could compete with planted seedlings. Chemicals may be delivered aerially or on the ground. This method is often chosen when cost and site damage are concerns or when there is difficult terrain that may make mechanical preparation challenging. Chemical preparation is typically less expensive and causes less potential damage to desirable trees and vegetation on the site than mechanical preparation. However, it does not remove larger trees and brush.
Mechanical preparation is more labor-intensive and therefore tends to be more expensive than chemical preparation. It is used to correct physical issues including residual debris, poor drainage, compaction, and rutting. It also removes physical vegetation through large machineries such as bulldozers and skidders. This technique may disturb the soil and has a greater potential to damage vegetation that the property owner wants to keep. However, mechanical preparation may be the best choice in areas where environmental and wildlife considerations make chemical preparation undesirable. The mechanical process can also deliver physical results that chemical preparation alone cannot achieve.
Five benefits of forestry mulching
Forestry mulching can be done on a plant by plant basis where each shrub is mulched on its original spot. In addition to the attractive layer of mulch, it allows the landowner to pick and choose what vegetation stays and what goes, resulting in a more manicured, landscaped effect.
Land clearing alone may leave the area with bare ground that will erode from wind and rain. The addition of mulch is very useful in holding the soil in place while protecting the root systems of trees and other vegetation. This erosion control helps preserve both the soil and the foliage.
Improvement in soil quality
A natural forest floor is renewed through the breakdown of organic matter as it decays. In the same way, natural mulch delivers nutrients to the soil over time as it breaks down. This helps regenerate the grounds and provides a healthy environment for trees and plants to thrive. Forestry Mulching also mitigates the growth of mold, helping the wooded area avoid fungus related diseases.
Conservation of time and environment
Forestry mulching delivers quick results for the amount of work it performs. Its one-step process saves time and the output helps preserve the environment. This is a win-win situation for property owners looking to be good stewards of time, money and the land.
Reduced Need for Equipment
Forestry mulching eliminates the need for multiple pieces of heavy equipment by accomplishing the job of excavators, shears, wood chippers and grinders in a single piece of equipment. It also eliminates the need for trucks to haul away debris as there is no waste; all the debris is turned into mulch. A single machine can perform all these different operations, saving time and fuel consumption costs.
Forestry mulching is an essential component of sustainable land management. There are a multitude of benefits for both the property owner and the land itself. Contact us today to get started turning your unruly lot of trees into a managed environment you can be proud of.