Mulch blowing is a method used for installing mulch. It involves a truck with a specially engineered airlock system, mulch, and hose. During installation, the system uses air to blow mulch through the hose. With this technique, mulch can be applied in a precise manner.
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What is blown mulch?
Mulch blowing uses special equipment to blow mulch into place at commercial and residential properties through long tubes or hoses that connect back to a central truck. It is significantly more efficient than traditional mulching methods that use wheelbarrows. It is also commonly referred to as blown mulch or blown in mulch.
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What is mulch?
Mulch is any material placed around plants to reduce weeds. It is usually a few inches deep. It can increase or decrease soil temperature, retain soil moisture and reduce soil compaction. The type of mulch used depends on your landscape, the needs of your plants and the desired aesthetic of your garden. You can purchase mulch and add it to your garden the old fashioned way with a wheelbarrow and shovel or you can have it professionally blown in.
How far can mulch be blown in?
That depends on the company you are using and how long their hoses are. Mulch can typically be blown in about 500 ft.
What kind of mulch should I use?
There are many types of mulch and they can be categorized into two groups: Organic and Inorganic.
Types of organic mulch
- Wood chips
- Seed hulls
- Grass clippings
- Newspaper or cardboard
Organic mulch adds nutrients to the soil as they decompose. Because organic mulch will break down over time it will need to be re-applied periodically. Organic mulch tends to be cheaper than inorganic mulch.
Types of inorganic mulch
- Gravel and Stones
Many inorganic types of mulch are made from recycled tires and other rubber or plastics. The main benefit of inorganic mulch is that it will not break down and need to be replaced. This mulch tends to be more expensive than the organic mulch and because they are made from plastic and rubber not as environmentally friendly in my opinion. If want to keep your garden low maintenance and not have to redo the mulch then the inorganic mulch might be a good option for you.
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How much does it cost to blow in mulch?
Generally the cost is $45 per yard for the installation plus the cost of the mulch and or topsoil etc.
What is the best type to use?
Shredded bark is one of the most common and least expensive types of mulch. It comes from a variety of sources, including cedar trees. Shredded bark is one of the best mulch types to use on slopes and it breaks down relatively slowly.
When do you apply it?
Mulch can be applied in spring and/or fall depending on your garden goals. Applied in the spring, mulch will help prevent weeds from sprouting, it adds nutrients to the soil (if organic) and will keep soil temperatures cooler over the summer. Applied in the fall, mulch will help keep soil temperatures warmer throughout the coming winter.
Don’t be in too much of a hurry to apply mulch in the spring. If you apply it too early, before the soil has a chance to warm the mulch can slow the warming process down. Apply mulch mid to late spring for best results. Seedlings may not be able to work their way through a thick layer of mulch. Let your plants get off to a good start by laying down a thin layer at first.
You can always add more mulch after the plants are established. You may need to apply additional mulch in the summer to retain moisture and in the winter to insulate it from the cold. If you garden has a layer of mulch in the winter, gradually pull it away as the temperature warms. If you remove it all at once the new growth underneath could be affected if there is a late season cold snap.
How does a mulch blower work?
These large machines are pulled behind a truck, like a trailer. Powered by a diesel engine, a conveyor system inside feeds the loaded mulch toward a paddle that directs it to a hose. The force of high velocity air blows the mulch through the hose to wherever the operator directs it
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How is mulch applied?
Mulch should be evenly applied a few inches deep around trees, shrubs, and perennials, but never deeper than four inches. Mulch should be kept about an inch away from the main stem or stems of a plant and should never be piled against the trunk or over the top of a plant. For plants or trees in the lawn, a three to six-foot ring should be applied extending out from the trunk, for plants in beds it is best to mulch the entire bed.
Deep mulch protects the soil, but it can damage the stems or trunks of plants and trees growing in the planting bed. Thin the layer of mulch in the areas immediately surrounding plants or trees. Avoid letting the mulch actually touch the stems or trunks.
You may notice that there are more bugs than normal in your mulch, especially during the rainy season. Fortunately these insects don’t tend to cause problems.
Termites might be attracted to the wood in compost, but they usually like larger pieces of wood. They don’t like finely shredded mulch or bark nuggets, or mulch made from cypress, cedar or eucalyptus. If you find that bugs are a problem in your mulch shredded rubber mulch or other inorganic mulch like stone or crushed rock are excellent alternatives.
While all plants grow better with mulch, too much can kill them. The secret to nurturing a healthy landscape is to know when enough is enough. Two to four inches is the ideal depth for mulch around trees and shrubs.
For an annual bed, remove old mulch before you till the soil and add compost. If you're applying mulch to a perennial bed, you might be tempted to just add a new layer of mulch on top, but this can cause rot, nutrient starvation, and plant death. Remove as much of the old layers as possible before you add more.
If the mulch is hot to the touch, allow it to cool before placing it around your plants. In very dry weather we recommend that when you water your plants also water your mulch. This will help hold moisture in for your plants well being.
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Are you using mulch in your garden? Tell me about your favorite kind!