As humans build developments, homes, malls, roads and parking lots, they strip off the topsoil leaving the top of our urban and suburban areas virtually sterile. Deserts have more life in their soils than our cities.
In order to sell properties after homes and offices were built, contractors simply used the cheapest path to landscaping. Bought the cheapest plants, plants on sale by nurseries because they'd been in a pot too long, stuck them in by the foundations and front doors, put sod down in front yards and worse, installed bark to cover the bare subsoil and 'keep the weeds down'.
People learn aesthetics. Most people relate bark with a new home, a new development. This look is popular and well-known. After purchasing their home they continue keeping bark on their soil 'to keep the weeds down' and because it looks 'new'.
There are a few contractors out there that put back some topsoil. They are rare. This practice has literally turned our urban landscapes into deserts. Some people who understand plants and soil know they need to improve their soil and do a little composting, or throw coffee grounds around but that is about the extent of undoing the sterilizing our development practices have caused. The timber companies make money, the fertilizer companies make money, sod companies make money and plant nurseries make money as we continue to replace dead or dying plants and lawns and dump non-decomposed materials on top of 'starving' soils just 'to keep the weeds down'.
Now, there is a plentiful product out there that can turn soils back into thriving communities, bring our birds back to our neighborhoods and make our landscapes lush with healthy plant life AND 'keep the weeds down'...
This renewable and plentiful product is human manure. We already know steer manure and chicken manure but although these products are great for our soils they also have a lot of weed seeds, are in differing states of composition, have varying amounts and types of medications and antibiotics and aren't tested. They don't look very uniform and aren't used for top dressing. Mostly used for vegetable gardens.
Human manure is mixed with a fine sawdust and decomposed under strict guidelines by our government. It is tested 5X. When it is completely decomposed the final product is NOTHING like its original ingredients. Chemically totally different. For one thing, it smells wonderful. (If it doesn't someone has by-passed the government somehow and it is not completely decomposed, don't buy it, don't use it!) The properly composted stuff is high in nutrients (you have to reduce your fertilizing routines a bit), a gorgeous NATURAL dark taupe color that is very fine in texture. No sticks, no stones, no pesticide residues (a huge problem found in mulches using homeowner lawn clippings and landscape debris), no weed seeds!! Maybe Grizzly Adams's manure has weed seeds but highly unlikely in our societies' manure.
All one has to do is install 2 inches on top of their soil and weeds, keep away from the trunks of trees and woody stems as you should do with any mulch and one's job is done. Soon organisms make a home in your soil and proliferate. Organisms in the soil have a symbiotic relationship with plants. They bring nutrients to the roots and the plant gives back carbon. Instead of waiting for hundreds of years or longer for topsoil to be made it is done within a year. Even non-gardeners will be able to see the difference in plants after just one week.
Anything that blocks the light from seeds will stop germination. Still weed seeds are blown onto our properties, bird droppings are full of seeds. There will be weeds growing on the top of any mulch. Not from beneath unless the mulch was thin. But oh so easy to pull out.
The tests show, no surprise, that it has a higher level of heavy metals so it should not be used on vegetable gardens. Of course most of the rest of the world has always used human manure, raw, to fertilize their crops. They have been spraying our skies with heavy metals for over 60 years playing with changing the weather. News to you? Look it up.
Ideally, this stuff should be replaced every year. Every other year even every third year works just fine. The companies that make this stuff usually have a service where it can be blown in on your beds. They are very neat and tidy! The more sterile your soil the faster it disappears as the soil organisms eat this stuff, take it down into the soil and poop it out. They do all the mixing and aerating a healthy soil needs. No need of any help from us humans. In fact, the tilling of our soils is an enormous CO2 source in our atmosphere. Don't believe me? Check it out. Being lazy in this case, albeit smart, is the best way we can improve our environment.
Admittedly I was spoiled. I used this stuff exclusively for 30 years. I had to do a lot of re-education and still most my clients were hesitant. But, when their neighbors saw the difference they'd try it. No one to my knowledge went back to the out-of-fashion, ugly (too coarse of texture and unnatural color detract from the look of a landscape), and does nothing for the soil except deplete nitrogen but it does 'keep the weeds down' as good as any mulch would.
The use of plastic beneath mulch is the worst sin a landowner or landscraper can commit under the guise of 'gardening'...in my opinion. Unless one is purposefully solarizing with plastic this practice should be illegal. For reasons of cruelty to our domesticated plants and harming the environment! It is purely ignorance. Landscape Fabric was never meant as 'weed control'. It was designed to keep gravel from disappearing into the soil. They just found another way to get people who don't know any better to give away more of their money and called it Weed Control Fabric.
Unfortunately, until we get everyone to understand the basics of our natural world and start to demand this human manure plus sawdust decomposed organic mulch, I have found it isn't that available. I did learn that they were drilling holes in our agricultural lands and pouring the raw human sewage UNDER the top soils and into our water tables. Why didn't we wonder what was happening with this stuff?
Well, we should start demanding this mulch be made available as decomposed mulch, NOT hidden in our water like they have already done with the poisonous Fluoride they told us was for preventing dental caries (BLATANT LIES). It won't happen over night. As more of us try this stuff and get the word out, it will happen. We have to put life back into our soils. Anything that is organic and completely decomposed will work.
In Rome they used lead in their pipes and in their cooking tools. This may sound like a small thing but the use of lead in the pipes of Rome is what they think caused The Fall of Rome. These weren't stupid people but they had got to a point where everyone became specialized. They didn't have anything else that was affordable and worked so well. They must have known lead was poisonous but didn't know that it accumulated in bodies. Similar things happen still today. Heck, we used leaded gasoline! Lead in paint! Still have Fluoride in our water. We can't afford to lead such specialized lives that others who just want to make money use our ignorance and could care less about the health of our bodies and more importantly, our environment.
I'll include a copy of a brochure from the company that produces 'Gro-Co' (their name for this mulch) in Seattle, Washington, soon. We've just relocated to Oregon and as yet to find someone that produces a similar product. If anyone reading this uses this stuff, please let us know your thoughts and experiences with composted human poo as well as your source!
I am horribly allergic to bark but that isn't the reason I won't use it. I hope you understand why I won't use it and that you will question your use of bark for mulch or any other non-decomposed mulch. Do your own research! Prove me wrong! Bark is Bad!