Meeting Notice: the regular Board of Directors Meeting has been rescheduled for July 31, 2024 at 6:00 p.m.

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Chips and Mulch

Wood Chip Pile

What is mulch?

Mulch is a protective covering (as of sawdust, compost, or paper) spread or left on the ground to reduce evaporation, maintain even soil temperature, prevent erosion, control weeds, enrich the soil, or keep fruit (such as strawberries) clean.

Where Not To Use Mulch

We discourage homeowners from using mulch and planting within 5 feet of their homes and other structures (garages, sheds, etc.). During a wildfire event, the ember shower that can proceed a main fire front can ignite organic materials around and on your home. Mulch creates a great trap for catching and encouraging these embers to smolder and burn. For more information on defensible space and home hardening click HERE(opens in a new tab).

Diagram of Where Not to Mulch

The Benefits Of Mulch

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Mulch can be essential to the survival of your landscape during a drought. Mulch will limit the amount of moisture that can evaporate from your soil, in turn reducing the need to water your plants and vegetation. Mulch improves the quality of your soil by breaking up clay and allowing better air and water movement through soil. Mulch provides nutrients to sandy soil and improves its ability to retain water. Mulch acts a retaining layer to soil keeping it cooler in the summer, inversely mulch keeps soil temps warmer in the winter through the process of decomposition. Mulch keeps weeds down and weeds that do grow are much easier to remove.

Picture of a Plant in a Field

  • Before applying mulch, remove all weeds and water the soil thoroughly.
  • Replace grass under trees with mulch to minimize competition for water & nutrients.
  • Keep mulch 6-12 inches from the base of trees and shrubs.
Picture of a Well Manicured Area

  • Apply 2-4" of mulch in all planting areas. Finer mulches (1/2" & smaller) should be applied no more than 2" deep. Coarser mulches like bark and wood chips can be applied up to 4" deep.


The Elk Creek Fuels Crew offers free mulch from the Community Chipping Program.

If you would like to learn more or to schedule to have wood chips delivered, please click HERE.

Taking Mulch One Step Further

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Some of us have larger properties that can be challenging to mitigate and sustain. Challenges can include the abundance of dense vegetation and declining tree/shrub health. For these situations a solution can be mastication. Mastication is the mechanical shredding and chipping of small trees and shrubs. This can be completed by renting and operating the machinery yourself, or hiring a contractor that offers this service. Mastication offers a lot of the benefits listed above including providing key nutrients to the soil, retaining moisture, and limiting the competition of vegetation. By removing the smaller dense vegetation types and turning it into mulch, you are promoting the growth of larger healthier fuels and sustaining a healthy eco system within your own property. In addition, the mulch (dependent on depth) can help suppress the return of shrubs and other vegetation types which reduces the likelihood of rapid fire spread and fire spreading to the tree canopies.

Picture of Dense Foliage

 

Picture of Dense Foliage

Picture of Mitigation