A question that does very few people ask is, what exactly is mulch? Why do environmental friendly farmers smile proudly when you mention it, and commercial farmers frown but nod understandingly?
We’ve gone ahead and done a little digging and bring to you at least somewhat a form of clarity.
Mulch has been a standard product of small-scale farmers and home-garden DIY’s for many decades.
In recent years the technology allowed smaller scale farmers to make use of mulch to grow crops with a much better yield.
Mulch helps to retain more water, suppress weed while increases the appeal to aesthetics and contributes positively to climate control.
Mulch is used to cover the surface of soil. Organic or inorganic mulch, both types have their pros and both have their cons.
Organic mulch can be bark (shredded or chipped), compost, composted manure, grass clippings, newspaper, shredded and raked leaves and straw.
The list continues and contains almost all organic matter you can think of.
Organic mulch will decompose into your soil, improving fertility vastly. Replacing mulch every two years or so is the only downside.
Some also say that the sharp edges of shredded leaves helps discourage garden pests, like snails.
Inorganic mulch can also be quite a number of things.
Whether you decide on shredded tyres, rocks and gravel, landscape fabric or black plastic – all will serve the same purpose at almost the same level.
Inorganic material, as you can imagine, does not rot away and will last forever. Making the cost of replacement an unnecessary worry.
However, be aware that this will provide absolutely no nutrition to the soil underneath it.
Ever since the advent of large-scale machinery specifically for mulching and shredding, using mulch commercially has been a viable way to improve crop yield, save on labour costs for weed suppression and weed killer, ease travel over surface soil and bring a measure of comfort to crop wielding plants by keeping the soil temperature.
However the amounts of mulch required to keep the show going can be staggering. With a recommended thickness of 5 to 7 centimetres deep, a simple square meter of mulch can be up to 0.05 m3.
It is very difficult to cover an area the size of a rugby field but quite easy to cover the lines wherein trees planted.
Normal recommendation is to make sure to cover at least 1m around the tree in mulch. Make sure not to touch the stem of the tree.
Where can you find such an amount of mulch?
Although Africa Biomass Company provide mulch on a large scale to commercial farms, the best answer lies in the production of your very own mulch.
Clearing woodlands for expansion or raking the lawn, shredding the leftovers will provide you with vast amounts of wood chips, sawdust and shavings.
This simple organic matter can be the best type of mulch there is, because it’s free and enriches the soil you put it back on.
The process of shredding these things though, can be nightmarish.
Which is why you should try to simplify this step.
Bandit The Beast® Wood Recycler/Horizontal Grinders
Smaller wood chippers are ideal for smaller production. To get started a smaller and simpler Bandit wood chipper can go a long way.
Check out ABC Bandit Chippers for a full range of wood chippers