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Author Topic: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris  (Read 650 times)

pineislander

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Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« on: September 19, 2017, 08:10:24 AM »
In the aftermath of hurricane Irma, millions  perhaps billions of cubic yards of vegetative debris are being generated during the cleanup. This resource needs to find a place and I have done some research into how to tap into that stream. I have read manuals created by FEMA, who reimburses local communities for the costs. Ultimately federal taxes pay for it. I also contacted the local agency running the show.

Generally, contractors come to the area, collect the debris from curbside, roadways, and right-of-ways using truck mounted hydraulic claws and transport the material to a staging/grinding area (DMS- Debris Management Site) where they unload. The debris is reduced using various grinding machines to 25% of its original volume. For example, one acre of debris one foot tall (one acre-foot) is about 1600 cubic yards which after grinding becomes 400 cubic yards.
These videos show typical operations:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhCMYmwokQ8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq9uzoBo0Ls

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfIns9xazJc

How much mulch does it take?
In order to mulch one acre to four inches requires 532 cubic yards, six inches requires 800 cubic yards, etc. Here is a calculator for doing these figures:
http://www.kylesconverter.com/volume/acre--feet-to-cubic-yards

How to get the mulch?
In my area, the County Solid Waste department is in charge and the contractors work for them. So, you should contact the responsible agency to access the mulch. They told me that they will be making it available, but in my research I saw that in some cases it goes to waste-to-energy power plants, wood pellet mills, ethanol production plants, mulch producing plants, municipal compost facilities, or is used for fill. These uses are competing for the mulch, so to get it might take some persuasion. One tactic in your benefit might be that your use is nearby and requires the least hauling and you are a part the community the local government serves.

Other considerations:
Timing- The operation may move quickly in a 'surge', but they also generally return to pick up at least a second time.
 
Size of trucks-
As seen in the videos, some operators haul the mulch using very large trucks, up to 100+ yard capacity. They are very long, very tall and cannot turn sharply. Some of these are self-unloading units in which the floor of the truck 'walks' the load to the back to dump. On top of access problems due to size and maneuverability some neighborhoods have road weight restrictions which might prevent large deliveries and lastly these trucks can't generally get off road, up hills, across ditches or travel on soft or wet ground.
If you want delivery you need to make the process as easy as possible. It would be helpful to create a map of directions for delivery.

Mulch quality-
The mulch generated isn't at all like what you may have seen commercially available. It is ground once for expediency and not screened. It will consist of much larger pieces in excess of 1 inch diameter and over 1 foot long. There may be entire branches or large chunks included. Theoretically the debris is checked for trash or non-natural material but some may be contaminated.
This video shows a self-unloading truck and typical mulch quality being transported for further processing as landscape mulch.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Emd4-Eq2fNY

Making use of the mulch-
You might consider storing the mulch for a while. It is 'green' and will generate heat from decomposition in the pile. There will be some smell. There is a possibility of fire.
This article discusses the hazard and mitigation:
http://www.soilandmulchproducernews.com/index.php/frontpage-articles-hidden/160-a-perfect-storm-mulch-fire-dynamics-and-prevention

Storing the mulch allows it to break down, the process will eventually make compost. Turning and wetting accelerates the process.
I hope that sharing this helps and if you get some mulch I'd like to hear about your experience.

greenman62

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2017, 05:28:29 PM »
I am in New Orleans, and wanted some wood chips.
Well, i have heard you can get them free by contacting a tree trimming service
or the city when they remove trees for powerlines etc...

Come to find out, everyone sends them to 1 company
who then sells them... and not cheap either
$200 and its the only place i could find.

i think its a scam, someone is getting a kickback.

anyway...
i found a cabinet maker, and get 8ft tall bags of sawdust.
i get 100lb of coffee grounds weekly from starbucks.
and pickup my neighbors grass clippings and leaves.

i use this all to "mulch in place"
i think because the particles are so small (sawdust and grounds etc...)
it breaks down faster, and i get very rich soil.

zands

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2017, 05:46:33 PM »
pineislander  __ You are correct that this is all Federally funded IOW a big bonanza for contractors in affected towns/ cities.  Best I can tell and going by the last hurricane that hit us in Broward in 2006. There was 3x the number of trees down in 2006 with resulting debris to be picked up by trucks w hydraulic claws . The woody debris from my 33321 were all dumped in a 7 acre vacant lot in my 33321 next to the town building department. The debris were all ground up/mulched and carted off to I don't know where. They could give a bleep because all Federally funded. As in your tax dollars returning to your community (or hydraulic claws equipped contractors) after the Federal apparatus in DC skims 50%

Same thing going on this time around too

*****  My local  wood/tree  debris picked up by the same hydraulic claws you see on the West Coast FL.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 05:55:53 PM by zands »

zands

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2017, 05:54:18 PM »
I am in New Orleans, and wanted some wood chips.
Well, i have heard you can get them free by contacting a tree trimming service
or the city when they remove trees for powerlines etc...

Come to find out, everyone sends them to 1 company
who then sells them... and not cheap either
$200 and its the only place i could find.

i think its a scam, someone is getting a kickback.

anyway...
i found a cabinet maker, and get 8ft tall bags of sawdust.
i get 100lb of coffee grounds weekly from starbucks.
and pickup my neighbors grass clippings and leaves.

i use this all to "mulch in place"
i think because the particles are so small (sawdust and grounds etc...)
it breaks down faster, and i get very rich soil.

Definitely a scam and at what they are charging there are not too many takers. Here in Broward you get a hold of good tree trimmers and get them to dump ground up stuff  in your driveway. Probably about the same in Miami and Palm beach county.

The trimmers incentive is to avoid a trip to the dump and dumping fees

baccarat0809

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2017, 07:28:23 PM »
Guys - there's a website called ChipDrop

https://getchipdrop.com/

They work with arborists who need a place to dump their chips at instead of the city dump.

I picked up this load on 08/30 for FREE. 


Its an amazing service and something I will 100% use again - just waiting for it to get a bit cooler as moving that much mulch, even with my 3 boys helping, took a ton of time and sweat.

pineislander

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2017, 02:35:12 PM »
To get chips from tree services that don't subscribe to chipdrop an idea is to make up some maps of your area showing your location and describing what you want in English and Spanish. Carry them in your car and hand them out whenever you see trimming underway.
Some of these crews are from out-of town doing temporary work and don't know anything. What they do know is that when the day ends or begins and they get full they want to get rid of chips quick.

FrankDrebinOfFruits

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2017, 02:52:59 PM »
Signed up for chip drop. I have been dragging my feet on mulching.  I need a mini backhoe to help move stuff.

greenman62

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2017, 09:51:50 AM »

Definitely a scam and at what they are charging there are not too many takers. Here in Broward you get a hold of good tree trimmers and get them to dump ground up stuff  in your driveway. Probably about the same in Miami and Palm beach county.

The trimmers incentive is to avoid a trip to the dump and dumping fees

Yeah Zands ive tried using that angle   when i called the trimmers
and told them they could dump at my house free... its also closer for them.
only 1 even talked to me, (the others are obviously getting a kickback)
and he said there might be large branches and such mixed in
it wouldnt all be chips... i may try calling him back if i remember which company it was
we dont have that many here.


Guys - there's a website called ChipDrop

https://getchipdrop.com/

They work with arborists who need a place to dump their chips at instead of the city dump.

i had signed up at least a year ago
no one has ever called me.

i just logged in, and they changed the format with options now.
i can add that i will pay $20. maybe that will be incentive, especially for a small company
and also since its closer for them too.
i have a feeling not may trimmers know about this site.

zands

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2017, 03:42:23 PM »

I know this might be difficult but forget phone calls/messaging and (lulz) emails//////  You need to find these guys on the road while they are trimming and negotiate a deal with them. Here in 33321 mulch is free but your mileage may vary in New Orleans.


zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 03:45:52 PM by zands »

zands

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2017, 03:44:50 PM »

i have a feeling not may trimmers know about this site.


My remote viewing says you are correct on this...... Like this takes any kind of genius to figure out.

baccarat0809

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2017, 06:18:03 PM »
I live in Longwood (east Orlando) and the day after I signed up for chipdrop I got a call but was out working on the garden and missed it.

Took another 2 weeks for the next call to come in and to say I was happy with the amount / quality is an understatement.  I ended up getting a mix of palm, oak and eucalyptus as the load smelled like Mentol and while it took a while to distribute, I got about 1/2 of the mulching done that I wanted and got all of my trees mulched in the backyard.  I only found 2 larger branches in the load I got, though some of the palm leaves weren't chipped up, so i put those down first and put the chips on top of them to make the rows look better.  I have a large hill on the back of my property that cutting the grass on just sucks because of the steepness of the hill and the angle its on, so the next load will allow me to finish mulching the rest of the hill so no more worries about cutting grass back there anymore.  I've started to add fruit trees on the hill that I've started from seed and have a 6x mango seedlings, 4x grapefruit seedlings and 6x papaya seedlings and those chips will certainly help the quality of the dirt as I'm on pure builders sand with nothing organic to it at all.  Once the next load of chips are down, a neighbor offered a bunch of banana pups and I have 2x loquat and 4x longan seedlings that I can plant as well to increase the mini orchard down there.

Since they're all seedlings doesn't matter much if they don't make it as I was happy just eating the original fruit.  I'll worry about grafting name-brand stock onto the seedlings if we decide to purchase the house instead of continuing on our long term lease, if not, at least I get a good learning experience about what works/doesn't around here.  Glad to have a landlord that encouraged me to add the trees to the lot.

pineislander

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2017, 07:04:29 AM »
I received 2000 cubic yards of ground debris.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnaLWHgib5A&feature=youtu.be

Starting to spread it between mangoes.



Guanabanus

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2017, 11:30:44 AM »
I have been driving my pickup around my suburban neighborhood on bulk trash days, getting two or three loads of large cardboards and banana boxes.  This makes great, bio-degrade-able weed-block, which I can then cover with my natural-materials mulch, prunings.  Seems to be working well.

I should try the chipdrop too.
Har

zands

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2017, 09:00:25 PM »
I received 2000 cubic yards of ground debris.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnaLWHgib5A&feature=youtu.be

Starting to spread it between mangoes.



That is one heck of a chip drop! Glad you got this hurricane byproduct instead of it being dumped in the everglades for all I know.

pineislander

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Re: Procuring mulch from storm vegetative debris
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2017, 06:51:06 AM »
I received 2000 cubic yards of ground debris.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnaLWHgib5A&feature=youtu.be

Starting to spread it between mangoes.


Update. This is good usable mulch, a fair blend of coarse and fine stuff. There are a lot of palm frond pieces and even coconut husk which make it somewhat difficult to handle with a pitchfork because it sticks on the tines of a pitchfork. Also the larger pieces make it difficult to scoop with a small front-end loader. 

The operator explained that tub grinder uses a 6" screen to control the size of output material, and sometimes a piece longer than 6" finds it's way straight through the screen. The material gets compressed in the truck by it's own weight while hauling and by the walking floor while unloading so that there is considerably more mulch in these piles than you would have in a typical tree trimmer load. Maybe 25% more.

 

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