The debarking process produces a natural commodity called mulch. The mulch is transported to a holding area to allow it to age and reach a uniform color. The beginning of the mulch process starts with the debarking of the logs. All logs are pre-sorted based on size and grade and are run through a debarking process before being processed into timber. Approximately 90% of the mulch produced at JR Timber is hardwood and 10% is pine. After the aging process takes place the mulch is then double ground and marketed.
Three grade standards have been adopted for landscape use based on particle size:
- Bark chunks (decorative bark).
- Bark granules (soil conditioner)
- Shredded bark.
Of the three, bark chunks are the most persistent.
Some bark mulches may be toxic to young plants, particularly if the bark is fresh or if it has been improperly stockpiled. Toxins can be leached from bark by heavy waterings or evaporated by thorough aeration.
Bark mulches are most likely to cause damage to plants if the mulch particles are small, if the mulch is particularly deep, or if high proportions of plant roots are in the surface layer of the soil.
If you are concerned about the toxicity of fresh chips, spread them thinly under young plants. Bagged bark mulch products have usually been allowed to weather for long periods of time to remove any toxins and are least likely to harm plants.
Among the most desirable characteristics of bark mulches are their excellent resistance to compaction and blowing in the wind, their attractiveness, and their availability.