5 Tips on Detoxing Your Landscape, as featured in Natural Nutmeg

It’s always fun to partner with local publications that support wellness of the mind, body and spirit. We believe the soil is a key ingredient for wellness. In the current issue of Natural Nutmeg magazine, Harvest presents 5 tips to Detox Your Landscape which include:

  1. Get on a path. No really, it’s not just a metaphor.
  2. Lay down a magical layer of mulch.
  3. Amend your soil with compost.
  4. Tidy up your space.
  5. Shelve the chemicals.

Focused on the Connecticut market, the entire March 2018 issue of Natural Nutmeg serves up lots of detox tips; our Landscape Detox article is on pp. 22-23.

How Do I Choose the Right Mulch for My Landscape?

a fine mulchWhy add mulch?

Mulch is a landscaper’s best friend because it:

  • reduces weeds;
  • improves moisture retention;
  • maintains soil temperatures; and
  • enhances the beauty of landscapes.

Mulch is basically a magic carpet for your landscape.

How do you choose the right mulch for your landscape?

Using quality mulch in your garden is one of the easiest ways to transform your landscape. Mulch comes in all shapes and sizes and flavors. When choosing a mulch there are a few factors to consider – species of wood, source, size, and color – to identify a mulch that will best fit your needs. Since the selection process can be tricky we summarized our most popular mulches with the following descriptions.


This mulch has a pleasant cedar smell that lasts a fair amount of time after spreading. Cedar is also great for repelling insects. Cedar mulch has a very slow decay process so it won’t break down quickly. Also, cedar mulch is the most resistant to artillery fungus.

  • AVAILABLE IN BULK:  Canadian Cedar is available at our Harvest New England locations in Connecticut.
  • AVAILABLE IN BAGS: Cedar Mulch Blend (2-cubic-foot bags) by Garden Pro® is available in stores in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast.


This is a recycled mulch usually made from hardwood logs and bark. These types of mulches break down quickly and add nutrients to the soil. Natural colorants make this mulch stand out.


This mulch has a naturally rich dark color with a pleasant pine scent. Pine mulch is a slow decomposer and is often over looked. This mulch has great longevity and is relatively inexpensive!

  • AVAILABLE IN BULK: Pine Blend is one of our most popular mulches, available in New England (Connecticut). Pine Fines are an exceptional soil conditioner for acid-loving plants such as azaleas, hollies and magnolias – available in the Mid-Atlantic (Maryland, DC, Virginia).
  • AVAILABLE IN BAGS: We offer a variety of Pine- based mulches including Pine Bark Mulch in two-cubic-foot bags in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.


This mulch has strong reddish and orange tones which add rich color to landscapes. Hemlock mulch is very aromatic. Just like cedar and pine mulch, hemlock mulches decomposes slowly so it is long lasting. Hemlock has a natural reddish look.

  • AVAILABLE IN BULK: Hemlock Mulch is available in at our Harvest New England locations.
  • AVAILABLE IN BAGS: Hemlock Mulch Blend is available in two-cubic-foot bags in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.a course mulch

Where can I find mulch from Harvest?

Great question! In addition to the mulches listed above, we offer a variety of mulch (and soil) products throughout North America. Find a convenient location near you:

Other Common Mulch-Related Topics:

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted as “Choosing a Mulch: Practical Beauty” in March 2014; it has been re-posted with permission by the author, Shelley Sales, with updated content, availability, links and video.

What’s the return on investment (ROI) for mulch?

It’s tax season. It’s also the time of year we refer to as “mulch madness.” These two seemingly unrelated events dovetail into some earthy calculations.

The query: What’s the return on investment (ROI) for mulch?

We know, inherently, that mulch is “good”: it reduces weeds, maintains soil temperatures, retains moisture, and enhances the soil. But what is its value?

Well calculations will vary depending on a range of factors (e.g. amount of time to initially prune, cost of mulch, time it takes to apply it, appreciation for beauty, seasonal and product variation and how it interacts with the landscape, etc). But let’s toss those quibbles aside, make some assumptions, and try to provide some shape around this notion.

First, let’s look at the scope of the case study in the following video of a “Tree Pedicure”:

It took about 20 minutes to do a tune up on this tree: trimming suckers, removing vegetation to the drip line, and adding a 3” layer of mulch spread evenly away from the trunk. This includes pulling out supplies and tools and getting organized, and putting away tools.

Next, let’s refresh our memories on how to calculate return on investment, or ROI. In short it’s the (gains – investment costs) / (investment costs). Written out, it’s the gains minus the investment costs, divided by the investment costs.

So, for example, if I sold orange juice for $8 (my gains) and it cost me $4 to make it (my investment costs), my ROI would be ($8-$4 / $4) = 1, or a 100% ROI.

Finally, let’s dive in and look at this case of applying mulch. Using really broad and fast brushstrokes, here are the background metrics for the calculations.

Investment Costs:

  • Time (20 minutes, with time valued at $60/hr to make math easy): $20
  • Materials (2 bags of mulch, with a very generous budget): $10


  • Time (since the mulch will repress weeds, one gains back the time not needed to weed throughout spring and summer, estimating 5 minutes per month for the next six months: $30
  • Look (how much one would pay to look out over a pretty landscape; say $0.10 per day for six months): $18
  • Nutrients added to soil slowly over time (yikes. With no idea how to calculate this. Let’s give it a small value): $2

So the ROI on this particular project is…drum roll please… [($50-$30)/$30] = 66%.

A 66% ROI is stunning.

This example is, of course, an example. It’s an illustration. It’s a way to think about the time and money that you could spend this spring tuning up your landscape and applying mulch – while weeds are still small! – and how much gain, or return, you could experience from that investment.

Have tips on how you would tweak these calculations?  Please share!

Want to learn more? Related articles include:

The Soil-Health Connection

Have you noticed the increased awareness around the interlocking connections between soil, nature, and wellness?  We have.  While doctors don’t yet prescribe bags of soil or mulch – take two and call me in the morning! – communities are increasingly recognizing that nature provides boundless benefits.  Here are a few examples:

    Healthy soil has lots of micro- and macro-bacteria, and interacting with that dynamic environment develops your own biosphere. Read about how dirt heals us.
    Bending, scooping, weeding and planting burns 200-400 calories per hour.
    Seriously: Doctors are now prescribing visits to parks.  Skip the visit to the doctor and go straight to your backyard, park, or playground.
    Noticing your surroundings makes you more present, more mindful, and arguably more successful. Take a moment to notice your surroundings and you’ll get better at staying calm and focused.
    The author of Nature Fix spent three years researching how nature impacts our brains.

Have you noticed a connection between how much time you spend in nature and your level of wellness?

MANTS 2016 – A huge hit!

We had an excellent time at MANTS 2016 (the Mid Atlantic Nursery Trade Show), with Harvest RGI and Harvest Consumer Products connecting with vendors, customers, and landscape lovers of all sorts.  Here are a few photos from the dynamic three-day event.

Dave Devine (pink sweater) with Brad of the Country Garden Center, and Dave Lundberg in background with Ed of Akehurst Landscaping.

Dave Devine (pink) with Brad G of Country Gardens and Dave Lundberg with Ed Delaha of Akehurst Landscaping

Dave Lundberg catching a selfie with Joe of Ruppert Nurseries and Mark of Chapel Valley.

Dave Lundberg (l) Joe Proskine of Ruppert Nurseries (c) and Mark D of Chapel Valley Landscape (r)

Can you spot Dave L and Rick R of Harvest?

Dave Lundberg and Rick Roy at booth

Say, “Mulch!” Harvest RGI‘s Dave L with Jay L, Rick R, and Justin B.Dave Lundberg Jay Linahan Rick Roy and Justin Burch Compliance and Prod Dev of Harvest RGI

Jay has a moment with Melissa of Marshalls Riverbank Nurseries.Jay Linahan chatting with Melissa of Marshalls Riverbank Nursery of Salisbury MD

What a great event! Excited for this Spring. Did you want to stop by our booth but not get a chance? Send us a note! 

Harvests booth at MANTS 2016

A Rain Garden for Driveway Runoff

Are you ready to take storm water management on your property to the next level, but not quite sure what to tackle? Here’s a simple idea for how to divert water flowing on your property – in this case your driveway – into a rain garden to slowly absorb the water into the groundwater table (as opposed to into the municipal treatment or storm water system).

A small rain garden can capture driveway runoff in elegant fashion.

The best way to position your mini rain garden properly is to go outside the next time it rains and see where your water is flowing. We found this article super helpful in describing how to identify the best spot for a rain garden. Good job on taking steps to manage stormwater on your property!

Harvest RGI Accepted to Maryland Green Registry

Maryland Green Registry DecalRecently Harvest RGI – our operations that serve the mid-atlantic region including Baltimore / Washington / Maryland / Northern Virginia corridor – was accepted to the Maryland Green Registry. By meeting a set of criteria we have joined an elite set of businesses that meet standards for the following categories:

  • Environmentally Preferable Products and Services
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Efficient Business Travel
  • Fleet Vehicles
  • Water Conservation
  • Stormwater Management and Site Design

Congrats!!  Interested in supporting a sustainable business while meeting your needs for green waste recycling or mulches, compost and soil blend products? Contact Harvest RGI in Woodbine MD today.

Time to Play! Use Playground Carpet – A Mulch for Safe, Soft Landings

PlaygroundSummertime is upon us.

Spending more time out of doors at the park and playground makes us want to make sure we have soft, safe landings.  Looking to upgrade your play structure? Our Playground Carpet Mulch is:

  • made of ground virgin wood chips
  • used under playground equipment and for walking paths
  • safe for children and pets.

Contact us today for a quote.

How to Mulch Around Trees: Spread Evenly!

Proper mulch care, courtesy of Madison Tree Care and Landscaping

Volcano Mulching (BAD) versus Proper Mulching (GOOD). Image courtesy of Madison Tree Care and Landscaping

It is ideal to apply a 2”-to-3” layer of mulch around a tree that extends out to its drip line. This layer of mulch does a few things including:

  • Prevents weeds
  • Retains moisture
  • Maintains consistent soil temperatures
  • Provides a nice buffer between equipment (mowers, weed wackers, etc) and tree trunks
  • Gives a finished look to the landscape

"B'ah! I'm suffocating!" says the tree trunk with volcano mulchingHowever, take care not to cover the base of the tree’s trunk and its root flare with mulch. The sapling in this photo was not mulched properly. It was “volcano mulched,” meaning the mulch was piled in a volcano shape right up to the bark of the trunk. If you pile mulch against the trunk, it will hold moisture there and may lead to root rot. It can also lead to the tree sending up secondary roots, which are weaker roots that will likely get zapped by the sun, frozen by frost, or strangle the tree.  Not good. If you want to meet someone who hates volcano mulching with a passion, meet Ken Druse, a guru of gardening who has tons of tips to help you flourish in your landscape.

"Ahh, my trunk can breathe," says the saplingInstead, mulch your trees starting a few inches out from the trunk out to the drip line or beyond, as far as an 8-foot diameter. The root system of the tree extends far beyond its drip line. In a forest, that entire system benefits from naturally-occurring mulch.

Also, if you have old mulch around your trees, it may need to be raked to ensure it’s not matted. Otherwise, if it’s thick and matted water and air may not be able to seep through to the tree’s root system. Mulch that’s matted can also become weed-ridden.

AFTER - mulch spread around mature treesBEFORE - mulch ready to be spreadOrganic mulches usually need to be replenished a few times a year to ensure the right depth of mulch (roughly 3 inches) protects and nourishes your trees.

Check it out: In this video these guys identify mulch volcanos that are suffocating/disabling the trees, and save a few by removing a primary layer of mulch, then airblasting away the extraneous mulch, trimming away the secondary root structure, and re-applying a 2” layer of mulch (not next to the trunk!) and out to the drip line.

BONUS: Need tips on how to plant your trees or shrubs?

See our easy 4-step diagram to planting trees and shrubs.