Mulch sales are rising by up to 10 per cent a year because of demand from the retail market.
As a result, bark-based product manufacturer and supplier Melcourt, of Gloucestershire, has built a new bark-processing plant, which opened last week.
United Kingdom Forest Products Association president Tony Willis, who officially opened the plant in Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire, said: “The continuing market for sawmill co-products is extremely important for the UK forest products industry. This development demonstrates Melcourt’s confidence in the continuing future market for their products.”
About 1,000 tonnes of bark from Welsh and Welsh-border sawmills are processed every week. The £800,000 plant has the capacity to produce 400,000cu m of mulch a year and is operated by just one worker.
Melcourt supplies growers, local authorities, playground installers and compost makers with mulches, play surfaces, compost additives and peat replacements.
Sales and marketing director Andy Chalmers said: “This new plant allows us not only to increase our production capacity, but also to further improve the quality and range of our products.” He added that the retail market is buoyant, while the professional market is “static” because of landscapers skimping on the laying depth of mulch and the increased use of recycled materials instead of mulch.
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