Your landscape mulch will go up in smoke
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Your Landscape Mulch Will GO UP IN SMOKE! PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Your Landscape Mulch Will GO UP IN SMOKE!. Larry G. Steward The Ohio State University ATI. BASIC FACTS ABOUT MULCH USE. Mulches are commonly applied in the landscape for a variety of reasons: Aesthetic Appeal and Color Organic Content Nutrient Content Moisture Modification

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Your Landscape Mulch Will GO UP IN SMOKE!

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Your landscape mulch will go up in smoke

Your Landscape Mulch Will GO UP IN SMOKE!

Larry G. Steward

The Ohio State University

ATI


Basic facts about mulch use

BASIC FACTS ABOUT MULCH USE

  • Mulches are commonly applied in the landscape for a variety of reasons:

    • Aesthetic Appeal and Color

    • Organic Content

    • Nutrient Content

    • Moisture Modification

    • Temperature modification

    • Reduction of Weeds

    • Dust and Soil Stain Abatement


Original research premise

Original Research Premise

  • Most Commercial and Public Facilities no longer allow smoking inside

  • Only permitted location for smoking is outside 25 feet from facility entrances

  • These facilities still desire the beauty of landscaping including organic mulching

  • Consequently, is any mulching material Fire Ignition Resistant?


Mulches used

Mulches Used

1 to 2” Pine Bark Nuggets


Mulches used1

Mulches Used

1” Pine Bark Nuggets


Mulches used2

Mulches Used

Ground Hardwood including Bark


Mulches used3

Mulches Used

Dyed Ground Scrap Wood


Mulches used4

Mulches Used

Composted Yard Waste


Mulches used5

Mulches Used

Pine Straw


Mulches used6

Mulches Used

Oat Straw


Mulches used7

Mulches Used

Cocoa Hulls


Mulches used8

Mulches Used

Ground Cypress


Mulches used9

Mulches Used

Dyed Ground Tires


Mulches used10

Mulches Used

Brick Chips


Mulches used11

Mulches Used

Turf Grass


Three ignition tests

Three Ignition Tests

  • Discarded burning cigarettes

  • Wooden matches

  • Propane torch


Ignition tests

Ignition Tests

  • Discarded Burning Cigarettes

    • Two times- Immediately after applying mulch and one year later

    • Three cigarettes to each mulch-each a different brand

  • Preliminary Findings

    • Ignition varies to type and brand

    • Ignition varies to period of time mulch has been place


Ignition tests1

Ignition Tests

  • Match Ignition

    • One test with three wooden matches to each mulch sample

    • Six months after mulch installed

  • Preliminary Findings

    • Most all mulches will ignite with this form of ignition

    • Some may not continue to burn after match is extinquished


Ignition tests2

Propane Torch

Fifteen seconds applied to each mulch sample then torch removed

Test done one year after installation of mulch

Preliminary Results

Surprisingly even some of the organic mulches would not ignite

Ignition Tests


Ignition results 1

Ignition Results 1

Balance of mulches did not ignite


Ignition results 2

Ignition Results 2


Your landscape mulch will go up in smoke

Ignition smoldered and burned down into mulch


Your landscape mulch will go up in smoke

Same Happened with Compost


Ignition results 3

Ignition Results 3


Ignition results additional

Ignition Results Additional

  • Match ignition of Rubber Chipped Mulch occurred every time in later demonstrations along with the Dyed Shredded Hardwood Mulch

  • Fire in Chipped Rubber Mulch

    • Gives off toxic fumes,

    • Cannot be extinguished with water in fact water spreads the flames

    • Extinguished by beating out with a shovel


Ignition results 3 continued

Ignition Results 3 Continued


Ignition results 31

Ignition Results 3

  • This compared to the sod rating of 2.13 and the brick chips rating of 1.13

  • 1 was equal to no flame at the end of the 15 seconds and 7 had to be extinguished after 1 minute following exposure to flame


What did we prove

What Did We Prove?

  • Water in mulch will slow ignition

  • Age and decomposition of mulch will increase ignition probability

  • Temperature of igniter can affect ignition

  • Exposure time to igniter even at lower temperatures will increase ignition

  • Certain organic mulches CAN be used near smoking locations


Our ignition results

OUR IGNITION RESULTS

  • OAT STRAWVERY HIGH

  • PINE STRAWVERY HIGH

  • GROUND RUBBER TIRES (DYED)VERY HIGH

  • SHREDDED PINE BARK, CYPRESS,

  • or HARDWOOD-- HIGH*

  • GROUND DYED PALLETSVERY HIGH*

  • YARD COMPOSTMEDIUM*

  • PINE BARK CHUNKS-TWO SIZESLOW

  • TURFVERY LOW

  • COCOA HULLSVERY LOW

  • BRICK CHIPSNONE


Results

RESULTS*

  • THE THREE NOTED WERE FOUND TO SMOLDER AND BURN WITHOUT FLAME FOR A PERIOD OF TIME WHEN AGED FOR A YEAR.

  • THEREFORE, IF NEW MULCH WERE COVERED OVER OLD MULCH, IGNITION OF NEW MULCH COULD OCCUR WHEN IGNITION TEMPERATURE IS REACHED. NO MATTER HOW LONG TIME HAS PASSED.

  • This NOT by spontaneous combustion


Conclusion one

Conclusion One

  • In those locations where lit smoking materials are discarded, the following mulches should NOT be used:

    • Ground recycled pallets

    • Composted yard waste

    • Shredded pine bark

    • Oat straw

    • Shredded cypress

    • Ground recycled tires


Flammability of mulch

FLAMMABILITY OF MULCH

  • Recent research on four common Florida mulches on flammability was done by Dr. Wayne Zipperer, et al; U. S. Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Gainesville, Florida

  • Highest Temperatures Results were on Pine Straw and Large Pine Bark, next was Small Pine Bark and Lowest Temperature registered on Cypress Mulch


Conclusion two

Conclusion Two

  • Where there is a chance of a Firewise Landscape/Wildfire Interface, the following mulches should NOT be used:

    • Decorative ground rubber

    • Pine straw

    • Oat straw

    • Shredded hardwood bark

    • Ground recycled pallets


Under decks

Under Decks


Around possible ladder trees

Around Possible “’’Ladder” Trees


Mulch and fire

Mulch and Fire

  • The Potential for Burning of the Mulch Needs to be a Landscaping Consideration:

    • When Selecting Mulch for a Public or Private Landscape

    • What the Environmental Conditions are for the Area—Dry or Wet

    • Relationship to surrounding wild areas that have potential for wildfire

    • Structure material in close proximity to mulch


Mulch and fire1

Mulch and Fire

  • It has not been demonstrated that Spontaneous Combustion starts Landscape Mulch Fires due to the little depth of mulch.

  • Fires are initiated and ignited by outside sources in the landscape.


Possible spontaneous combustion location

Possible Spontaneous Combustion Location


Landscape mulch depth

Landscape Mulch Depth

Not enough depth to build up heat if applied properly for self ignition-”Smoke” is merely steam from moisture in mulch


Relationship to the wildfire interface

Relationship to the Wildfire Interface

  • Remember the Four Firewise Plant Zones

    • Zone 1—Structure foundation to 5 feet

    • Zone 2---5 feet to 10 feet from structure

    • Zone 3---10 feet to 30 feet from structure

    • Zone 4---Beyond 30 feet from structure(or

      100 feet if uphill from wildfire source)


Your landscape mulch will go up in smoke

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Helps for you in the future

Helps for you in the future

  • Eastern United StatesFire Performance Plant Selector

    • Beta CD available from United States Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry-Contact Ms. Donna Murphy

    • 140 trees and shrubs with Firewise ratings, use and descriptions and more

  • On Line Website

    • Under development now in cooperation with both Northeastern Area and Southeastern Area-USDA for release in 2009

    • 500 plants commonly found and used in Eastern U. S.


Your landscape mulch will go up in smoke

  • Eastern United States Fire Performance Plant Selector

  • provides information to urban foresters and fire prevention

  • professionals about how a specific plant species might influence the

  • movement of fire and the safety of structures in fire-prone areas.

  • It replaces more generalized flammability lists with an easy-to-use,

  • searchable database developed using a credible, science-based

  • ranking process.

  • This prototype program includes 150 commonly used trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines, and grasses typically found in residential areas of the Eastern United States.

  • This tool targets users who are familiar with plant material or fire

  • prevention principles, but not both, when making decisions related to

  • managing or planting vegetation on fire-prone sites.

  • Users can search the database by plant name or request plant

  • recommendations based on specific needs related to fire prevention

  • zones, plant characteristics related to flammability, or cultural

  • preferences. From the generated lists of recommendations, users

  • can then select a plant, and the Plant Selector generates a

  • factsheet that summarizes the plant’s fire prevention suitability,

  • cultural requirements, urban and utility use, and form.


Your landscape mulch will go up in smoke

Any Questions?

Thank You


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