17 Aug 2017

Mulch: Soil & Plant Health

As I stated in a previous post; for healthy plants, start at the soil!  Mulch’s #1 contributing factor to sustainability, is the organic matter it gives back to the earth. Mulch is rich in carbon that feeds beneficial microbes and organisms found in soil.  A healthy soil composition has good water infiltration, aeration, and a nice healthy ecosystem of beneficial microbes, and organisms.  Healthy soils have all the essential elements that plants need to thrive with easy access to water, air, and nutrients.  When the soil ecosystem is improved, you have healthier plants that also tend to be more resistant to disease and pests. That means you’ll probably be spending less time and money on “medicine” and/or replacement of failing plants!

Basically, mulch is the ultimate vitamin for soil and plants throughout your property.  Use it as a tool to improve the overall health of your landscape; avoid the future corrective maintenance bills, and lower the amount of chemical use!

Valerie,

Natural Solutions

Valerie@mulchinstalled.com

17 Aug 2017

Brown, Bark, Bagged or Bulk?

By selecting materials thoughtfully and applying them correctly, the annual maintenance is likely to decrease. There tons of different mulches you can choose for your SE Wisconsin property, but to get more sustainable value from this material it’s important to consider how these different types of mulch are harvested and processed. For example, while still retaining moisture, hardwood mulch is fibrous and knits together well which is why it’s often used to inhibit soil erosion and weed germination.  Dyed mulch is not recommended for sustainable landscapes, though it often appeals to property owners because of its rich color. (But remember, appearance is a side benefit—not its main purpose). The content of dyed mulches can actually harm plant and soil health, and seep into water run-off; therefore, negatively impacting the environment.  The most cost effective and most commonly used mulch in Wisconsin is shredded hardwood mulch.

As for the way mulch is processed, it’s best to stick with bulk mulch.  Plastic waste is a bi-product of the bagged variety sold in retail stores and sometimes even offered by landscape companies. Reducing that unnecessary plastic, you’re actually increasing the sustainable value of your mulch, and decreasing waste!

Valerie,

Natural Solutions

Valerie@mulchinstalled.com

17 Aug 2017

Mulch, A Sustainable Practice

Benefits and Beyond

When we talk about sustainable practices in the green industry, we tend to think of rain gardens, green roofs, and composting. You’re right, these types of projects do, in fact promote sustainability, but the reality is, making a big impact on our residential and commercial properties isn’t just about the installation of a feature, but the maintenance as well! As we rethink the way we approach basic landscape practices like mulching, even standard maintenance can be a significant step toward improving the sustainable development of your landscape.
Applying mulch is far from being solely for cosmetics purposes, or weed suppression.  Using the appropriate material and application techniques will save you time and money in the long run. Best of all, natural mulch products provide plant health care contributing to sustainability.

We do our best to educate property owners and grounds maintenance staff to think beyond aesthetics and consider how maintaining mulched areas can actually “do things” that you and your landscape will benefit from. Mulch definitely makes a great example of how to approach a much-needed spring service with sustainability!
Most know by now, that the benefits of mulch do not stop at curb appeal and healthy plants. There’s a lot more to it than that. If you want healthy plants, start at the soil. Mulch decomposes in time, adding nutrients and beneficial bacteria and microbes back into the soil, and attracts earthworms! It protects from extreme cold, retains moisture, and helps prevent erosion as well. These are the main benefits to your landscape, but let’s get into how these mulch benefits contribute to the big picture of a more environmentally balanced property.

Valerie,

Natural Solutions, LLC

Valerie@mulchinstalled.com