What is forestry mulching?
Forest mulching is a land clearing method that uses machinery to cut, grind, and clear vegetation. You may hear this machinery referred to as a “forestry mulcher,” “forest masticator,” “brush cutter,” etc. Heavy-duty forestry mulchers can clear up to 15 acres of vegetation a day depending on the terrain, density, and type of material.
What are the applications of forestry mulching?
There are numerous applications of forestry mulching. These include:
Right-of-way clearing and maintenance
In most cases, forestry mulching is used for right-of-way clearing and maintaining roads, highways, pipelines, and other utility lines.
This process will require the complete removal of standing trees, stumps, vegetation, etc.
If you need to clear land for commercial or residential projects, then forestry mulching is the way to go.
You’ll be able to prepare your site for development by cutting and clearing brush, creating nature and recreational trails, etc.
Wetlands and riparian habitat conservation
Forestry mulching is a popular method among nonprofit riparian conservation organizations, government agencies, hunt clubs, and private landowners in attempts to maintain habitats for various animals (ex: pheasants, doves, elk, deer, etc.).
Forestry mulchers can be used to rejuvenate resources like food, water, and shelter spaces for these animals.
Invasive species control
Proactive forestry mulching can reduce stress on trees that are caused by crowding and make them less susceptible to attack from invasive species.
Additionally, mulching invasive species can help to control the spread of invasive plants, insects, and fungus.
Wildlife prevention and management
Forestry mulching can be used both proactively and reactively when it comes to mitigating fires, cleaning up soil erosion, and minimizing water pollution.
What are the advantages of forestry mulching?
If you’re wondering why forestry mulching is used, it’s because of the numerous benefits it holds over traditional methods.
Here are six of its advantages:
It’s quick and affordable
Forest mulching, particularly for smaller areas, is a straightforward process that includes only one step.
You don’t need multiple machines for site prep, cutting, felling, hauling, and site cleanup. Instead, there’s just one machine that can do it all, and all the leftover vegetation is converted into a nourishing ground layer that can stay right where it is. Nothing needs to be hauled away.
With fewer machines and less manual labor, you’ll save lots of time and money!
It can be performed on any terrain and in any weather
Whether it’s hot, cold, wet, or dry, forest mulching can be performed in even the most challenging terrains and conditions. You’ll see companies mulching on steep slopes, in poor soil, and even in wet/snowy weather.
It produces zero waste and is eco-friendly
With traditional land clearing, you’ll often see a risk of erosion because the soil is disrupted. When a mulching method is used, it leaves the soil structure intact and the mulched material acts as an erosion barrier.
It reduces the tick population
Ticks are an unwelcome problem in any natural setting. You likely know that you’re supposed to check your clothes and skin for ticks whenever you’re leaving a heavily wooded area. By clearing land through mulching, you reduce the population of ticks that are residing in that area.
It hinders the growth of weeds
Do you struggle with weeds on your land? If so, try forest mulching. With this method, the top layer of the ground gets covered with shredded vegetation that blocks the sunlight from reaching any weeds left behind. This not only causes them to die out, but the heat generated by the decomposing shreds helps to terminate any remaining weeds.
It nourishes the soil
Mulching doesn’t push over trees and cause disturbances to the soil structure, which increases soil erosion. Instead, it covers the topsoil and protects it from the natural forces that cause soil erosion (i.e., high winds or rainstorms). So, you’ll see water conservation due to a reduction in the soil’s moisture loss.
Additionally, because mulch is organic material that decomposes over time, landowners who utilize mulching often improve soil fertility by delivering essential nutrients that serve future vegetation well.
Who benefits from forestry mulching?
Forest mulching is a way to clear out farmlands, backyards, gardens, and other private properties. However, there are other land development and environmental goals that make forestry mulching beneficial for other projects. Here are some of the projects and groups that benefit from forestry mulching.
Commercial and public land clearing
Mulching is now a popular option for public, commercial, and residential land clearing projects in addition to construction site preparation and development. You’ll see it used for right-of-way clearing, road and highway maintenance, pipelines, and utility lines.
Wetlands and riverbank ecology habitat conversation
Nonprofit riparian conservation organizations, private landowners, hunting clubs, and government agencies are adopting the process of forestry mulching because it is environmentally friendly. Specifically, it maintains habitats for animals like pheasants, doves, elk, deer, etc.
Forest mulching can help to control vegetation growth in the forest according to the needs of the other animal species in the area.
It provides for wildlife welfare through food, water, and shelter.
Invasive species control
When managing land, you always want to keep an eye out for invasive plants and insects as they can create harsh conditions for the native ecosystems. Forest mulching can help to remove these pests from groundwater, trees, etc. and ultimately helps control the spread.
Wildfire prevention and management
When you proactively mulch land, it helps to reduce the potential for wildfires by eliminating small leafy plants, fallen or rotten trees, and other vegetation that might act as tinder. Thus, you can use forest mulching as a means of wildfire control as well.
How much does forestry mulching cost?
Forest mulching prices are affordable compared to other methods of land clearing, which costs on average $8,000 to $15,000 per acre.
With forestry mulching you can expect to pay roughly between $175-$250 per hour (or $1600/day). Keep in mind that the average forestry mulching equipment can clear approximately 1-3 acres per day. Factors that can influence the cost include the terrain, the complexity of the project, and the thickness of the material.
If you’ve been contemplating ways to make your recently purchased land more usable, you should consider forestry mulching. Clearing land can be expensive and time-consuming, but there is a way to cut both costs and time. Forestry mulching is an efficient method of clearing and managing the vegetation in a wooded area. It also helps to control the spread of invasive species and restore the health of the ecosystem.