Green Man Tree & Landscape Services

Tree Services Waukesha and Milwaukee | Waukesha and Milwaukee Landscaping | Tree Removal and Mulch

Tree Services Milwaukee | Milwaukee Landscaping | Tree Removal and Mulch

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tree Damage in the Spring Milwaukee

Spring Floods Can Drown Trees, with the wetter then normal spring Milwaukee has been receiving, you may want to check on the health of your trees.
Are your trees drowning? A wetter-than-normal spring can leave trees sitting in soil saturated with water. Too much water at the base of a tree can cause myriad problems. A traditional life preserver might not be the answer for these leafy giants, but a little knowledge – and knowing where to seek assistance – can help trees survive spring thaw. Too much water can be as bad for trees as too little water. While some trees are suited to survive occasional floods, most are not. In addition, as a tree becomes older, its ability to adapt to abrupt environmental changes decreases. When Spring water levels recede, consumers may begin to notice problems with their trees.

Some species – such as some oaks, pines and junipers – have adapted to survive drier conditions. Trees that grow along rivers (such as willows, poplars, cottonwoods and sycamores) and trees that grow in or around swamps and ponds (such as red maples, gums and pond cypress) can also grow in wet conditions. Flood injury occurs when soil becomes saturated with water. There doesn’t need to be an actual flood to cause flood injury.

How to look for flood injury:
Flood injury is usually expressed through changes in the foliage. One symptom in particular, chlorosis, is commonly caused by flood injuries. Chlorosis is the yellowing of leaves caused by a decrease in the amount of chlorophyll (green pigment) in the leaves. This symptom can look like a symptom of a disease but is often caused by non-disease problems, such as excessive water.
“A professional arborist can determine if chlorosis is caused by a pest or some other site factor, many of which can be controlled, or by water damage,” says Gerstenberger.
When flood conditions are prolonged, root dieback occurs. During root dieback, soil is so saturated that there is not enough oxygen available to the tree roots. Without the proper balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide, roots can’t survive. Eventually the tree is not able to absorb adequate moisture, despite the flood condition. The tree will exhibit symptoms similar to leaf scorch, where a tree’s leaves turn brown and die due to a lack of moisture in the leaves. The symptoms usually start at the top of the tree or on the ends of branches, and spread throughout the entire crown. The symptoms are often more severe on the side of the tree facing the prevailing winds.
Symptoms of flood injury, in the order that they develop on the foliage, are:
• slight wilting or drooping of the foliage;
• yellowing and browning (necrosis) of leaf edges;
• browning in the center of the leaf.
What to do
The best prevention for this problem is to avoid planting flood-intolerant trees in areas that are frequently flooded. There are a variety of wetland trees and shrubs that can be planted instead. There are not many practical short-term solutions other than improving drainage. Whenever changes in drainage are made, the impact to all the affected landscape and landscape plants needs to be considered. Avoid creating problems for flood-tolerant plants by providing drainage for intolerant plants.
For more advice on spring damage to trees, contact an arborist.

Green Man Tree & Landscape Services Serving Milwaukee and Surrounding areas 414-301-9807 Tree Services, Tree Removal, Mulch, Landscaping services in the Milwaukee area. All trees & wood by-products removed from your property will be reused to make fine furniture, firewood or re-purposed into high quality compost and soil for gardeners.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tree Removal Milwaukee

Most arborists and tree companies in Milwaukee would rather save trees than remove trees, but the fact is that trees are living organisms and at some point a tree will die and tree removal will be necessary. Most tree service companies are equipped with the proper equipment and professional arborists to safely remove trees and this is often the best time to find a local tree service. Depending on the size and location of the tree, tree removal can be quite dangerous and requires skills, equipment, and experience that most do-it-yourself homeowners don’t possess. If you have a large tree to remove hiring arborists to do the work is almost certainly your best option.

  • Does the tree service have liability and workman’s compensation insurance? Most insurance companies will temporarily list you on the tree company’s insurance policy if the tree service is going to be doing work for you.
  • If the tree removal is in a tight location or it is necessary to remove a large tree ask if the tree service has experience with trees of this size, or removing trees in restricted locations
  • Will the tree service provide a written proposal detailing what is included?
  • Will the tree service be hauling away the brush and the wood, or just cutting down the tree?
  • Is stump grinding included in the tree removal proposal?
  • Will the tree service contact local utility companies, cable companies, and phone companies to make sure there are no wires or gas lines if stump grinding is going to be done?
  • Will the cost for the tree removal be less if the tree company leaves the wood?
  • If the tree company leaves the wood how long will the pieces of wood be?
  • If the tree company grinds the stump will they leave the grindings or does the tree service haul them away?
  • Will heavy equipment need to be driven across lawn or landscape areas? Make sure to let the tree service know if there are underground obstacles such as irrigation systems, electric wires for landscape lighting, septic drain fields, etc.
  • Will the tree service repair any divots in the lawn or ruts in the lawn?
  • Can the tree service recommend a replacement tree or refer you to a landscape company to plant another tree to replace the tree that is being removed?

Green Man Tree & Landscape Services Serving Milwaukee and Surrounding areas 414-301-9807 Tree Services, Tree Removal, Mulch, Landscaping services in the Milwaukee area. All trees & wood by-products removed from your property will be reused to make fine furniture, firewood or re-purposed into high quality compost and soil for gardeners.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Milwaukee Tree Services | Tree Damage and First Aid

Milwaukee tree services by Greenman Tree And Landscape Services in Milwaukee provide you with a certified arborist who is able to assess the damage your tree has and treat it accordingly.  Tree service, tree removal, landscaping and mulch are all available from Greenman Tree and Landscape Services.

Here is some information to help you with tree damage assesement.

The Keepers

If damage is relatively slight, prune any broken branches, repair torn bark or rough edges around wounds, and let the tree begin the process of wound repair.

Too Young to Die

Young trees recover quickly. If the leader and structure for branching is intact, remove the broken branches so the tree can recover.

An Easy Call

A mature shade tree can usually survive the loss of one major limb. The broken branch should be pruned back to the trunk.

Minor Damage

Although the tree has been damaged, enough strong limbs may remain on a basically healthy tree to make saving it possible.

Wait and See

If a tree appears to be a borderline case, don't simply cut it down. It's best to give the tree some time. A final decision can be made later.

Easy Does It

Resist the temptation to prune too heavily. The tree will need all the foliage it can produce in order to manufacture the food needed to get through to the next growing season.

Hold Off

A healthy, mature tree can recover even when several major limbs are damaged. A professional arborist should assess damage on a borderline tree to safely remove branches.

Say Goodbye

Some trees simply can't be saved or are not worth saving. If the tree has already been weakened by disease, if the trunk is split, or more than 50 percent of the crown is gone, the tree has lost its survival edge.

Farewell to a Friend

A rotten inner core in the trunk or structural weakness in branching patterns can cause a split trunk. The wounds are too large to ever mend.
All that's left is the trunk. The few remaining branches can't provide enough foliage to enable the tree to survive through another growing season.

Hopeless Case

Tree Tragedy

This tree has lost too much of its leafy crown. It probably won't grow enough new branches and leaves to provide nourishment and regain its former beautiful shape.

Green Man Tree & Landscape Services Serving Milwaukee and Surrounding areas 414-301-9807 Tree Services, Tree Removal, Mulch, Landscaping services in the Milwaukee area. All trees & wood by-products removed from your property will be reused to make fine furniture, firewood or re-purposed into high quality compost and soil for gardeners.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Best Time To Trim Trees | Milwaukee Tree Services

Milwaukee is coming out of winter and its time to get your trees ready for another growing season.  When asked about when the best time to trim your trees, We usually follow some simple rules.
The ideal time is when the tree is dormant, which is late fall to early spring. Since the tree is not active, the removal of limbs will be less stressful to the plant. It is also easier to see the structure of the tree without its leaves to better find problem areas like rubbing branches, weak crotches, cracked or broken limbs and competing leader branches. The tree will have more time to seal the wounds before the growing season starts and there will be less sap running from the wounds. Also, insect and disease organisms are not active at this time, so it reduces the risk of infection or pest infestation, which is why birches and American elms should only be pruned in the winter. The worst time to prune trees is late spring and early summer when their leaves are expanding and the tree is putting its energy toward growth.
A common myth is that large, mature trees can tolerate more pruning than small trees. In fact, the opposite is true. Only the outside inch or two of a tree is alive; the rest is made up of dead cells whose main function is to support the tree. That’s why a tree can be hollow but still be perfectly healthy. If you compare the percentage of live cells to dead cells between a small tree and mature tree, the difference is huge. A young tree might be made up of 90 to 100 percent live cells, while an old, mature tree might only have 10 percent or less. As you can imagine, the younger tree has a better chance to adjust to change.
A good rule for mature trees is that less is better. Try to avoid removing large limbs over 6 inches in diameter because it will be difficult for the tree to close the wound before decay sets in. Other options are cabling or thinning these large limbs as opposed to removing them. Good maintenance items for mature trees are removing deadwood and hazard limbs and thinning for weight reduction when necessary.
Young trees up to 8 to 12 inches in diameter need to be pruned properly for structure while they are still young to avoid the need to remove large limbs in the future. When pruning trees, keep in mind that the leaves produce the energy for the plant and that removing too much leaf surface from a tree or limb will starve the plant, causing die back or heavy sucker growth from that part of the tree.
“Topping” trees destroys them. They will never grow back to their natural shape and every branch that grows out of that wound area will be an accident waiting to happen. As the new limbs grow bigger and the rot in the wound increases, the branch will eventually break. A topped tree soon becomes a maintenance headache, with constant storm damage due to the weak branch attachment. If a tree is too large for its location, consider having it removed and replanted with a smaller species rather than topping it.
It is important to know what a tree’s natural shape will be when it matures before you prune it. For example, I see many weeping cherries that are pruned into a ball shape because all of the upright limbs were removed as they grew out of the top. If allowed to continue growing, these limbs would have eventually bent back down, creating the weeping effect that gives the tree its unique look. So it pays to do a little homework and find out what the tree’s natural shape is and help it reach its full potential. Not all ornamental trees need to be pruned into the traditional lollipop shape!
When it comes to shrubs, prune flowering shrubs soon after they are done blooming. Non-flowering shrubs and evergreens can be pruned as necessary to achieve a desired shape. Keep in mind that wider at the bottom is better than narrow — if you allow more sun to reach the bottom of the shrub, the plant won’t thin out as much. Avoid heavy, late summer pruning; too much pruning at this time will encourage new growth that may not harden off in time for winter. For those plants that don’t tolerate shearing well, like red or green twig dogwoods, it is best to prune them back to the ground when they become too large or sparse, and let them start over again by growing new limbs from the base.

Green Man Tree & Landscape Services Serving Milwaukee and Surrounding areas 414-301-9807 All trees & wood by-products removed from your property will be reused to make fine furniture, firewood or re-purposed into high quality compost and soil for gardeners.

Tree and Landscape Services in Milwaukee | Green Man

Green Man Tree & Landscape Services prides itself on fully utilizing all parts of the tree and wood by-products in order to provide additional value added products to consumers.
Products include:
• Compost
• Mulch (natural shredded)
• Woodchips (utility grade)
• Firewood (seasoned/unseasoned)
• Rustic Wood Slabs (bar/table tops, benches)
If you have a tree that has sentimental value, Green Man also offers sawmill service, furniture making or woodcarving. Please call us today to learn more.
Commercial Landscaping and Residential.

Green Man Tree & Landscape Services Serving Milwaukee and Surrounding areas 414-301-9807 All trees & wood by-products removed from your property will be reused to make fine furniture, firewood or re-purposed into high quality compost and soil for gardeners.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tree Services Milwaukee | Green Man

 Green Man Tree & Landscape Services is a family owned business that takes great pride in providing its customers with high quality services at a great value. Many members of the Green Man staff are self proclaimed, “tree huggers” and as such pride themselves on their ability to reuse all of the wood by‐products from tree removals. Green Man is fully insured, and they work hard to maintain Green Man’s positive ratings with the BBB and on Angie’s List.

Residential Tree Services

Tree Care Services offered:
• Trimming/Pruning
• Removal
• Installation
We understand that urban trees can harbor many memories for your family and pride ourselves in finding innovative ways to promote our recycled “green” wood products. At Green Man the talented and professional staff will find another purpose or use for the wood in the tree(s) removed from your property. The wood can be turned into handcrafted furniture, tables, counter tops and benches.  Other uses for the wood by-products include compost, garden soil and firewood.

Commercial Tree Services

Property managers and City Foresters trust Green Man’s team of professionally trained staff who are available to meet your organization or municipalities needs.
Green Man Tree & Landscape Services is one of the largest urban wood recyclers in SE Wisconsin.
Tree Care Services offered:
• Trimming/Pruning
• Removal
• Installation

Green Man Tree & Landscape Services Serving Milwaukee and Surrounding areas 414-301-9807 All trees & wood by-products removed from your property will be reused to make fine furniture, firewood or re-purposed into high quality compost and soil for gardeners.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Milwaukee Tree Removal | Greenman Tree and Landscaping

 Tree Removal in Milwaukee can be a difficult decision.

When a tree develops problems, it is frequently difficult to decide when to remove the tree. Dying trees that are not in danger of falling on people or structures can be allowed to die in place without human intervention. Old dead trees also serve as places for various species of wood peckers to find food and a place to nest. If money is no object and the owner wants to keep the tree as long as possible, trees can frequently be maintained for many years by cutting out all dead or diseased portions and watering deeply when needed. Unfortunately continually removing dead wood is expensive and sometimes neighbors are concerned about the possibility that the tree may fall on their property. Trees provide shade and climate moderation, hold soil in place, help keep air and water clean, increase property value, provide beauty. To decide whether to remove a tree, a number of questions need to be asked, the pros and cons weighed.
Many tree pruning and removal jobs are too much and very unsafe for the average do it yourselfer. Hire a professional. A professional is a “Certified” Arborist, this is a person who is fully insured, licensed and certified by the State.
Is it a desirable species? Undesirable trees include black locust, Siberian elm, box elder, mulberry, poplars, Bradford pear, silver maple, tree of heaven, mimosa, catalpa, empress tree, and willows. Characteristics that make some trees “undersirable” include: weak wood prone to frequent breakage, always dropping large quantities of debris, shallow roots that damage lawns and pavement, often infested with diseases or insects specific to the tree species or being an invasive species by prolific reseeding in the landscape.
How healthy is the tree? If 50% of the tree is damaged, it probably should be eliminated. A tree that is in decline can continue to survive for many years but will always have limited or abnormal growth and appearance. Trees that have been damaged by herbicide frequently have misshapen leaves, but frequently can recover.
Is there trunk damage? Vertical cracks, seams, , dead branch stubs and large, older wounds suggest internal decay. Severe damage to the main trunk often warrants removal of the tree. If the damaged area is less than 25 percent of the circumference of the trunk, the wound could gradually heal over and no permanent injury should result.
Is the tree hollow? Because the life support tissue, the xylem and phloem, of a tree is on the outer edges of the trunk many trees will live for years with a hollow trunk. The issue is the compromise of the trunk strength making the tree dangerous. A guide to help in decision making is if one-third of the interior of the tree is hollow or rotten, it probably should be removed.
Are there large dead branches? Large trees that have had their tops broken or large damaged limbs are a danger to people and property. If less than 25% of branches are damaged, tree will probably survive. Crossed or rubbing branches should be removed. Narrow branch angles especially of the main trunk are particularly prone to splitting and should be corrected . This is best done when the tree is young. If a narrow crotch is too large to remove the two co-dominant leaders could be cabled to relieve the strain and avoid breakage. This procedure is performed by a professional.
Are all dead branches on one side of tree? If so, tree will be lopsided and potentially hazardous. Dead branches that are all on one side of a tree can be a symptom of root or trunk damage on the affected side. Such trees should be evaluated by a professional.
Are there sprouts coming from the base of the tree or epicormic shoots (small branches coming from the trunk? These sprouts are a response to severe stress indicating that there is something wrong with the tree. This is very typical of trees that have endured recent new home construction injury, over-exposure to the sun after thinning a forest or soil compaction. Have such trees evaluated by a professional. These are an indication that all is not well with the tree.
Is there trunk rot or a large fungus growing near the base of the tree? Not all mushrooms growing under trees are associated with root diseases, but fungi growing on the tree are an indication of internal rot.
Has there been excavation near the tree causing root damage? If 50% of the root system is damaged, it probably should be removed.
Is the tree leaning? Leaning trees are more of a hazard than those growing vertically. A sudden lean indicates breakage or weakening of roots and tree should probably be removed immediately. A lean of more than 15% from vertical probably should be removed.
Is the tree under power lines? Trees under power lines should mature at heights less than 25’. A tree that is growing into power lines will need to be thinned out. During wet weather, electricity can arc as much as ten feet to wet tree foliage and ground out causing a power failure or property damage. Removal of trees limbs anywhere near power lines is never for the homeowner to do themselves. The price for an accidental touching of the power lines or a grounding arc of deadly electrical current to a ladder, pruning tool or a person will be devastating. Always hire a professional for these dangerous jobs.
What is the history of the tree? Some previous pruning jobs can cause problems years later. A situation that follows the old, outdated, practice of “topping” trees is breakage of the regrowth. Another cause of a gradual decline of trees is caused by a change in the soil level over the root system. If three inches or more of soil has been piled over the root system of the tree, it will probably die. If caught early before stress symptoms develop many trees can be saved.
What is the environment in which the tree lives? Another important factor in a trees possible need for removal is its environment. Trees growing on rock ledges or near a body of water frequently have shallow root systems. The removal of nearby trees is a common problem after new construction. Trees that are suddenly exposed to sunlight are severely stressed by the sudden change in exposure. Unfortunately, trees that are spared from removal during construction often die 3-5 years later. They succumb to soil compaction, grade changes and the sudden exposure to full sun after being grown in a forest.
How much space is available for tree growth? Trees in the forest grow very well close together, therefore planting shade trees in groves replicating nature is fine. In such sites they will grow together as in nature to become one large mass. When it comes to your house,it is best not to have trees actually hanging over the roof. Generally large trees should be at least 20 feet from your house. On the other hand small trees, such as a dogwood, may be planted as close as 6 feet from the house.
Finally, some other considerations that can help you make a decision about the removal of a tree include:
Are there other nearby trees whose growth will be enhanced if the tree is removed?
Is the location of the tree such that it interferes with sight lines in traffic flow, stoplights, etc.?
Does the tree have historic or sentimental value? When a tree has historic or sentimental value, more expense is justified to salvage it. However, if a tree is losing large branches, it is likely time for it to be replaced.
Green Man Tree & Landscape Services Serving Milwaukee and Surrounding areas 414-301-9807 
All trees & wood by-products removed from your property will be reused to make fine furniture, firewood or re-purposed into high quality compost and soil for gardeners.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tree Services Milwaukee | Green Man Tree Service | Spring Tree Care

Spring tree care is important after a cold Milwaukee winter, there are a number of things that a home owner will want to do to make sure that your trees and shrubs are growing healthy and green.  Green Man Tree and Landscape can help care for all your Landscaping and trees service needs.

Established trees may seem self-sufficient, but arborists agree: Healthy trees don’t just happen. Trees are low-maintenance, not no-maintenance. Tending to seasonal chores helps keep trees healthy and protects your landscape investment.
Get your trees off to a growing start by following six simple steps for spring tree care.

1. Clean Up
Kick off the new growing season with a quick spring cleaning – for trees.
  • Remove any remaining decorative holiday lights. Don’t allow lights to stay wrapped around tree trunks or branches. If you forget about them, you risk girdling growth.
  • When temperatures warm, remove any protective winter wraps you placed around trunks.
  • Rake and gather debris that collected beneath trees over winter, such as small twigs, leaves or fallen fruits. This is especially important with trees susceptible to fungal diseases, which can overwinter on debris. Examples include pines affected by diplodia tip blight or crab apples affected by apple scab.
2. Mulch
A layer of mulch helps soil retain moisture and suppresses weeds. It’s most crucial when caring for younger trees, ones that have been in the ground up to 10 years, but it’s OK to mulch older trees, too.
  • Aim for a 3-inch-thick layer around trees but not against the trunk. Mulch piled against the trunk holds moisture and heat, which helps give diseases such as canker an easy point of access.
3. Water
Wait until soil thaws to tackle watering chores. If you water while the soil is still frozen, you’ll just create runoff.
  • Deeply water trees located in areas where de-icing materials were used over winter. Irrigating moves salt-laden materials through soil and away from tree roots.
  • Even though the weather is cool, don’t allow trees to dry out. You may have to water several times if weather warms or if you have sandy soil.
  • Check your sprinkler system. Inspect emitters and lines for leaks or clogs. Look for puddling around trees; adjust sprinkler heads accordingly. Sprinklers shouldn’t spray water onto foliage of trees susceptible to fungal diseases. If dogwood, for instance, has continually wet leaves, it’s more likely to develop anthracnose or powdery mildew.
4. Prune
The ideal time to prune most trees is during winter dormancy. Click here to learn more about how to prune trees.
  • You can, however, remove any dead, damaged or broken branches in spring. If you’re unsure whether a branch is dead, wait until the tree leafs out. Dead branches are easy to spot once leaves unfurl.
5. Inspect
Before leaves appear, inspect tree trunks and branches, looking for signs of disease or damage. Not sure what to look for? Learn about inspecting trees and what to look for when identifying potential health hazards for your trees.
  • Look for rabbit or vole damage near the base of trunks. If damage is present, erect a fine-mesh screen to prevent further damage, and monitor the tree’s health over time.
  • If you do spot something that makes you feel uncertain about the safety of a tree, contact a local certified arborist to receive expert tree care advice.

Serving Milwaukee and Surrounding areas

Monday, April 8, 2013

Wood Furniture Available from Green Man

Wood Furniture

All Natural Wood Furniture For Sale!

Inspired by the Green Man Legend, Green Man Tree & Landscape is one of the only environmentally responsible tree care companies in Milwaukee County. As a Green Man client, you can be assured that our eco-friendly operation will reuse 100% of all trees and wood by-product removed from your property. As guardians of the urban forest, we feel that it is our responsibility to our customers & community to find innovative ways to recycle and reuse these precious green resources. We offer our customers competitive prices at little cost to the environment. After your tree has been removed, it will be ‘tree-incarnated’ into everything from fine furniture to firewood, or even compost for local urban food producers and home gardeners. Thank you for the opportunity to look at your project…and may the Forest be with you!

To purchase any of these furniture products 

Please contact us at 

(414) 301-9807

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mulch Milwaukee | How to choose the best mulch

 Mulch and how to choose the right mulch for your Milwaukee landscaping project.

Green Man Tree and Landscaping Service  services Milwaukee and its surrounding areas.  Tree Services and Landscaping isn't all we do.  All Natural Compost and Mulch is available at very competitive prices.

To gardeners, whether or not to use mulch is rarely the question. How to choose the best garden mulch for your specific needs, however, can be.
Using quality mulch in your garden or landscape is one of the most common ways to tidy up flower beds, landscaping, and/or other areas in need of a cosmetic (or nutrient) makeover. In short, adding mulch to any yard can be commonly referred as gardening instant gratification—which as most seasoned gardeners know—is a rare occasion. Choosing the best garden mulch for your specific application, however, can be a tricky process; because choosing the wrong mulch for the wrong situation is both time consuming and expensive.
The purpose of this hub will be to explain the basics of mulching—along with its many benefits—as well as how to choose the right mulch for your individual garden or landscape needs. So, let's get to mulching!
See What Beautiful Mulch Can Do For You?
See What Beautiful Mulch Can Do For You?


Besides providing an attractive vista to any yard, the proper use of mulch offers a variety of benefits for both the property owner as well as the environment. Below is a small sampling of why you should implement mulch into your gardening and/or landscape plans.
  • Adding mulch reduces the amount of grassy area in your yard therefore reducing both mowing time, fuel usage, pollution, and water usage. In short, mulch is GREEN!
  • Mulch installed to the proper depth (3” or greater) provides an excellent barrier for weeds and other invasive plants.
  • Mulching reduces the amount of water needed for many plants and vegetation by keeping soil temperatures down thereby reducing evaporation.
  • Mulching reduces the need to use additional soil necessary for plants to grow while also limiting soil and other types of erosion.
  • Most quality mulches decompose over time thus adding valuable nutrients back into the soil. In essence, mulch is time-released composting!
  • Certain mulches—such as those composed of Cypress, Cedar, or Pine wood—are excellent at repelling and controlling a variety of pestilent insects; such as ticks, chiggers, gnats, etc.
  • Most natural wood mulches (non-dyed products) promote an increase in worm activity which is ALWAYS a good thing in any garden or yard. Worms love to eat the decaying mulch which in turn creates great soil! Over time, even hard clay soils can be broken down simply by mulching and subsequent worm activity!
  • In short, MULCH IS A GOOD THING TO DO! Not to mention that it looks GREAT!


The majority of mulches being used in today's gardens and landscapes are organic; simply meaning they are composed of once-living organisms, i.e., wood, grass, leaves, pine needles, nut casings, etc. For the sake of simplicity, this hub will focus on organic mulches since they are the most widely-used mulches today.
The primary ingredient for most mulch is wood, either from the core of the tree or the bark. The following is a list of primary wood sources for today's quality mulches.
  • White Oak: White Oak is one of the most common woods used for many quality mulches. Since it is a hardwood, when ground into mulch, White Oak maintains its golden-tan color for a season or two (with proper raking) and decomposes slower than double-ground bark mulch. White Oak also takes colorings very well and the core wood is often used as an excellent playground mulch.
The larger wood mulches (i.e., nuggets) are great for areas where soil erosion is an issue since they will not "drift" away in most rain events. They are slow to decompose and over time add to your soil. One drawback is that they are not very comfortable to walk on (in bare feet that is).
  • Cypress: Cypress is one of the most popular landscaping mulches for two reasons: Number one, it's very bug and insect resistant (thereby protecting your valued plants from unneccessary damage). And number two, Cypress is an excellent matting mulch; meaning that it stays together very well after installation providing better-than-adequate erosion control on sloped landscapes.
  • Cedar: Although it costs a little more, cedar mulch is worth the expense for three reasons: First, similar to Cypress, cedar is an excellent (if not better) insect repellent due to more natural oils found in the wood. Slugs, for example, won't come near it! Second, Cedar has a delightfully aromatic smell that lasts a fair amount of time after spreading; especially if turned somewhat frequently. And finally, Cedar decomposes rather quickly thus putting its valuable nutrients back into your soil faster.
  • Pine (In mulch and nugget form): Often overlooked in the mulch world is pine; which is a great mulch for a few reasons. First, pine mulch is another excellent matting mulch that does a great job at keeping soil erosion down (year round) and lowering soil temperatures during warmer months (therefore limiting water usage). Not to mention that its ability to insulate makes pine mulch very handy for winter gardeners trying to keep killing frosts at bay. Second, pine-bark nuggets are slow to decompose thus offering a great way to "pave" walkways or "pet highways" throughout your yard. And finally, pine mulch is relatively inexpensive, has better than average longevity, and in general, represents a great bargain!
Cedar, Cypress, and Pine mulches are all found in core and bark mulch form, make an excellent choice for softer-grade landscapes, and are especially suited for more-delicate garden areas. In addition, all three repel damaging insects, smell great, and decompose quicker than larger nugget mulches. These are my favorites!


In addition to the more-common wood mulches, a fair number of optional mulch choices are also out there; some of which in your own yard backyard.
  • Ground up tree leaves: Depending on what type of area you wish to mulch, shredded tree leaves are great for spreading under decks, along fence lines, and other areas where controlling mud and runoff are a problem. When I spread my large amount of shredded oak leaves each fall, I do so to a depth of at least 3". That way, when they break down, I still have coverage. Over time, however, shredded leaves can raise the acidity of your soil; so monitoring pH levels from time time is not a bad idea.
  • Pine Needles: If you're fortunate enough to have Pine trees on your property, the dead and fallen needles provide an excellent covering basically year round. They look great, last a long time, and hold well when matted.
  • Pecan Shells: Pecan shells--as well as other nutshells--provide excellent ground coverage and look great doing so. Typically, a 2" layer of pecan shells will typically last 2 years; so keep that in mind when you purchase them since they can be more expensive due to limited availability.
  • Grass Clippings: Even though it sounds odd, the grass clippings you bag (or not) as you mow are a very effective (and FREE) garden mulch! I've used grass clippings for years as a base covering below other mulches as well as a way to keep dust and mud down. Be careful, however, not to go beyond a 2" depth as grass tends to mat as well as restrict air and water penetration. But when used as a control mulch only, grass clippings are great!


What type of colored mulch to use, and where to use it, are important questions you as a gardener need answered. The following guide is based on my experience--as well as seasoned advice from a few professional gardening friends--as to the best colored garden mulch to use in the best situation. I hope it helps.
The three, most-common dyed mulch colors are red, brown, and black; and each has its place. Reds are best suited for areas with lighter colored plants and trees/shrubs. They are also a great choice to complement rock gardens since their color retention leans to the long side. Reds are also used extensively in many commercial applications, i.e., around buildings and other public areas. Personally, I feel reds are best used over large areas. But this is just my opinion...
Brown mulches are another one of my favorites because they really make light and darker-colored plants and trees "POP" out of gardens and landscapes. The only drawback to browns is that they tend to lose their best color after one season. Browns are also an excellent choice for smaller areas.
Black mulches, similar to reds, are excellent commercial mulches due to longer-lasting color and their ability to work well in less-tended areas. For gardens, however, blacks are not the best choice since they tend to retain a fair amount of surface heat which can damage many plants.


In order to reap the full benefits of mulching, an overall depth of 3-4" should be maintained. The process determining how much mulch you'll need is simple. First, you need to determine the total square footage of the area to be mulched. And second, depending on how much mulch is needed, use the following formulas:
  • To achieve a depth of 1" divide your overall square footage by: 324
  • To achieve a depth of 2" divide your overall square footage by: 162
  • To achieve a depth of 3" divide your overall square footage by: 108
  • To achieve a depth of 4" divide your overall square footage by: 85


How to choose the right mulch for your yard and/or garden is one of the most exciting tasks, I feel, during the entire gardening process; because in the end, your yard, your plants, and the environment in general all benefit. So, go green and get to mulching! You'll be glad you did.
click here to learn more
Serving Milwaukee and Surrounding areas

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mulch Supplier Milwaukee | Green Man Wood Service

Spring clean-up is fast approaching us here in Milwaukee, Don't forget, since Green man is a recycling company we will have a whole lot of mulch and Wood Chips available for your landscaping needs.  All Natural and dye free.  Give us a call at 414-301-9807.