Shredded Woody Mulch Ingredients:
Guidelines: think like a forest tree ie what materials would you be dropping on the forest floor
- Wood components
- all kinds of green and brown garden waste
The Wood components are:
- approx 90% shredded wood or Ramiel wood
- approx. 10% woodchip or small chunks of outer hardwood
some methods for acquiring the shredded wood:
- obtain shredded wood (from Municipal Waste Management, sometimes free, see note below)
- make shredded wood with a shredder machine – hire or buy. Look up chipper shredder reviews.
- get some short (approx 2 to 6 inches) cuts of small branches and pound them with a smallish-headed sledge hammer with a long handle for swinging (this method will take many man hours – have a pounding party, ask friends to bring hammers)
Method: chip and shred it all. a lot of green leaves, a lot of dried leaves, a branch, so that it creates a pile of a MIX of all these ingredients – it is easier to mix as you go, rather than mix it once it is in a pile. and for some smaller mulchers and shredders, alternating wood, and green, and wood, then brown foliage will lessen the chances of the machine jamming, glueing up with all that green foliage.
Note: there are some council waste facilities who use contractors who shred the local resident’s and tree-feller’s green waste. the contractors hired by australian councils seem to be using a shredder rather than a chipper, which is the type of wood that is mostly needed here. and then the council gives it away (or sells it). ultimately, you cannot be sure if there are toxic substances in the council mulch or not. or perhaps your council is conscientious and CAN guarantee the mulch to be toxin-free.
Types of Wood Used for the Wood components:
Wood Chip from branches and trunks usually larger than 10 cm. This is “chipped” with a Wood Chipping Machine – cut with a sharp blades into hardwood chunks
Shredded Wood – from branches of small to medium size. This is “shredded” with a Wood Shredding Machine – they the wood is.
Ramial Wood Chip (from WikiPedia) Ramial Chipped Wood (RCW) is a wood product used in cultivation for mulching, fertilizing, and soil enrichment. The raw material consists of the twigs and branches of trees and woody shrubs, preferably deciduous, including small limbs up to 7 cm. (23⁄4 in.) in diameter. It is processed into small pieces by chipping, and the resulting product has a relatively high ratio of cambium to cellulose compared to other chipped wood products. Thus, it is higher in nutrients and is an effective promoter of the growth of soil fungi and of soil-building in general. The goal is to develop an airy and spongy soil that holds an ideal amount of water and resists evaporation and compaction, while containing a long-term source of fertility. It can effectively serve as a panacea for depleted and eroded soils.
The raw material is primarily a byproduct of the hardwood logging industry, where it was traditionally regarded as a waste material. Research into forest soils and ecosystems at Laval University (Quebec, Canada) led to the recognition of the value of this material and to research into its uses. Originally termed BRF (French: “bois raméal fragmenté” or “chipped branch-wood Because they are the most exposed part of the tree to the light, and the most actively growing, young branches (and young trees) used in RCW are from the richest parts of the trees. They contain 75% of the minerals, amino acids, proteins, phytohormones and biological catalysts (enzymes) found in the tree.
The wood from heartwood and branches larger than 3 inches in diameter is not desirable due to its high C/N ratio (approximately 600:1), which requires a lot of nitrogen in its decomposition.
Because the wood used in Ramial is the most exposed part of the tree to the light, and the most actively growing, young branches (and young trees) used in RCW are from the richest parts of the trees. They contain 75% of the minerals, amino acids, proteins, phytohormones and biological catalysts (enzymes) found in the tree.