Mulching Berries

Hi - I am looking to possibly share a mulching machine for applying wood mulch to berries and orchard trees. Does anyone have equipment or ideas they would be willing to share? We are located in the London area.

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The only such equipment that I know of in the area is Rudy Heeman’s (of Heeman’s Strawberries in Thorndale) tractor implement that he uses to “spread” straw over the strawberry fields in the fall. It grinds up a round straw bale and shoots it out over the field. I don’t know if it could work with wood (chips or otherwise).

Perhaps Apple Land (East side) or Crunican (North side) have some gear for their orchards or techniques they would be willing to share. I’m also pretty sure that I’ve seen an orchard on the West side of London but I don’t know what its name is.

I just found out today that a row mulching machine is made in Ontario, by Bauman manufacturing:

The machine costs $15,500 and delivery time is 8-12 weeks after order is placed.

Maybe if 3 operations shared the cost that might work. However, I would need to do more research to make sure it would be able to handle straw and manure .

A side-discharge manure spreader might work (but my reading points to side-discharge being better suited to liquid manure and not as much solid; no direct experience though). Or a TMR machine (but again not sure about rougher mulches damaging the machine). Side discharge bale processors are designed for feeding hay and spreading straw bedding but you can modify the discharge vents to shoot close to the side so those are a good option if you have livestock (but again very expensive, even used, $8000-$25000).

We are currently experimenting with using a rear discharge manure spreader and then a hay rake to move the straw onto the row of berries. Limited success so far as it is difficult to get the manure spreader to drop a thick enough layer.

I am interested in hearing how others are doing this too and collaborating.

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Ya I have researched those in the past for spreading compost and manure on raised beds. They aren’t very affordable even used. Although I think there is certainly a case to be made as far as taking a regular spreader (used, of course) that you like and having it modified to side discharge, that will certainly come in way cheaper. It may not work as well as the fancy ones that are made for that purpose, but as long as it does what you want, who cares, right?

I can’t remember where I saw it, but someone was using a self unloading forage wagon to drop mulch along a row of trees. You’ll juse need to cut off the roof to load it.

Hi! We’d be interested in sharing mulching equipment - south of London!

Thanks everyone for the responses. This year I think we’ll try a manure spreader with a homemade guide on the back. Maybe in a few years we’ll be able to afford better equipment. I’ll keep track of those who are interested in sharing.