Is Forestry Mulching the right solution for me?
Many forestry mulching contractors hype the process as a single step solution to all their customers problems. While there are certain circumstances where this is the case, it rarely lives up to their promises. It’s a classic case of “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” This approach often leaves customers with a mess to clean up, questions about how to maintain their newly mulched land, and a bad taste in their mouth about the industry as a whole.
Our experience has taught us that forestry mulching is a great tool, but far from the only tool. It can be used alone, in combination with other steps, or skipped all together depending on your goals. Below is a list of forestry mulching do’s and don’ts:
Forestry Mulching is ideal for:
reclaiming overgrown land from small woody brush
clearing from between mature trees without damaging roots
reducing tops and slash from select cut logging
cutting horse or atv trails
converting cutover timber to low cost pasture land
converting high-density unmanaged young timber regrowth to wildlife habitat
pre-commercial thinning of timber stands
Forestry Mulching is not ideal for
converting cutover timber land for row crop production
clearing for new construction
clearing trees where further grading is required
clearing for turf grasses
clearing where metal fence or debris is present
The key to remember with forestry mulching, is that its benefits are also its weaknesses. The roots stay in place and the woody debris is spread evenly on the soil surface. If this woody debris is too heavy, the mulch layer will prevent new growth. If grading is required, the roots will have to be pulled up and hauled away and the mulch will mix with the soil making finish grading nearly impossible. If tillage is used on these areas, it will pull the roots to the surface and make seedbed preparation nearly impossible.
The mulch throws off the C:N ratio, slowing decomposition and inhibiting new growth in the top few inches of soil. This effect is desirable for slow nutrient release and reduced competition in a forest setting, but is terrible if you are trying to establish a thick stand of grass for a lawn.
At Southern LandCare, we have extensive experience using mulching and other processes to their full potential. We have an arsenal of complimentary equipment and processes to ensure the methods used will give you the desired result in the most cost effective, sustainable, and environmentally sound way possible. Some of the equipment we use in addition to mulching is:
Heavy Offset Disc
Fertilizer sprayer and spreader (to amend soil and speed decomposition of mulch)
Using some or all of these methods, we can make your project meet your expectations. Customer satisfaction is our goal in addition to environmental stewardship, and our happy customers are the best evidence of that. We won’t sell you a magic bullet, but we will provide a holistic land management approach that will ensure the future use, enjoyment, and VALUE of your land.