Here at WJ Kent Tree Surgeons Ltd, we understand that our customers want to get the best value for money from their firewood logs and wood mulch. Like any other purchased products, consumers pay money in good faith for something they presume will perform. However, when it comes to woodchip and logs, they also play a vital role in the appearance and health of a garden as well as providing vital heat, respectively. In order to get the best possible performance, they need to be used properly.
To ensure that our customers in Surrey maximise the benefits of these premium-quality products, we have listed some useful information below. As tree surgeons with more than 25 years of trade and industry experience, we have utilised these projects ourselves countless times, seeing first-hand the difference that our advice can make.
1. Wood Mulch from Broadleaf Trees
Stems sourced from tree suckers and younger trees can be utilised as wood mulch or woodchip on planted and unplanted areas. Likewise, wood and bark from mature trees can also be applied as fresh wood mulch around plants in well-established beds and unplanted areas.
The only caveat to note with such woodchip remains a compound known as phytotoxic. Plants produce this compound to deter herbivores and to prevent the germination and growth of potential competing plants. It remains unlikely that this chemical would effect well-established, mature plants, but we advise our Surrey clients to be wary of using fresh broadleaf woodchip around newly planted beds.
2. Wood Mulch from Conifer Trees
Materials from conifer species have an even higher chance of containing phytotoxic compounds than broadleaf woody waste. As such, the risk of harm to young plants remains high. Similarly, this shouldn’t be an issue with mature plants.
However, for the ultimate peace of mind, we recommend purchasing aged wood mulch and woodchip from conifer plants. This process involves leaving material to weather for approximately three to four months. During this time period, phytotoxic compounds break down, making them safe for use on any kind of bed.
Regardless of which wood mulch or wood chip our clients in Surrey use, the material must never be laid directly up against the base of a tree trunk. This creates a low-oxygen, moist environment that encourages disease.
In order to optimise weed suppression, any new wood mulch should be laid in early spring before they have a chance to establish themselves. However, wood mulch and woodchip can be applied at any time of year, although it’s best to avoid laying it on dry soils.
When it comes to lighting a fire, it seems everyone has their own approach based on experience (or lack thereof) as well as the intended use in a range of situations. Here, we will only look at making an efficient self-feeding fire for warmth that makes perfect use of our seasoned logs.
Unlike the more traditional method of slowly burning from the bottom of a fire structure, a top-down approach eliminates the slow smouldering process. This proves particularly useful as it reduces the likelihood of creosote build-up in Surrey chimneys.
The foundation layer of the fire consists of large logs, the largest firewood used in the structure itself. Atop this, place another layer of logs, albeit slightly smaller. These logs should criss-cross in the opposite direction to those beneath.
Next, a third layer follows. This should consist of kindling approximately an inch in width. The final layer on top of the structure needs to be even smaller kindling and newspaper, materials that ignite easily.
After lighting the top layer, within a few minutes your Surrey home should be warmed and lit by a clean, highly efficient fire. As the uppermost materials burn up, they fall through and ignite the lower logs, creating a self-feeding fire.
In order for this to work, however, our customers must use seasoned firewood logs with as low a moisture content as possible.