By Todd Williams
As a long-time New Jersey residential developer, Bud Carelli was sick and tired of seeing his expensive landscaping mulch wash out onto streets, lawns and sidewalks every time it rained or was very windy. He was also fed up seeing the vibrant color of new mulch fade in the hot sun.
So he decided to do something about it.
Carelli spent nearly a decade chewing on the problem, eventually inventing and patenting Mulch Tech Shield, a treated mulch that he promises will not wash out of place, retards color fading, and blocks up to 90 percent of all weeds from popping up in the beds.
In 2010 Carelli patented a formula for binding mulch together, as well as a delivery system for this product. After changes in the formula, finding proper mulch and designing packaging, Carelli was granted a patent for Mulch Tech Shield in 2015.
To be sold in two cubic-foot bags, the product is a wet mixture of pure mulch and about 140-160 ounces of the non-toxic adhesive formula mixture of polymers, adhesives and over 90 percent water. The product will cure when exposed to air in about 12 to 24 hours, depending on ambient air temperature. The warmer it is, the faster the mulch will cure, Carelli explains.
“I’ve left sealed bags outside for two months and when reopened, the mulch is still fresh,” he says. However, he cautions, open bags must be resealed or the product will cure in the bag.
Upon curing, Mulch Tech forms a firm, network of mulch chips firmly anchored together and resistant to weather conditions like rain and wind. It will retain its deep color, greatly limit weed growth, and eliminate dangerous mulch fires, root rot and mold. And, adds Carelli, unwanted debris such as leaves, twigs and trash can be removed with a leaf blower or even a shop vacuum without disturbing the mulch.
According to Carelli, Mulch Tech is applied exactly as regular bagged mulch with one important exception – it is applied at a depth of one inch instead of the three to four inches that regular mulch is spread. He points out that while Mulch Tech is more expensive than regular mulch, it takes about one third less product to cover the same area as traditional mulch.
He says that because he only uses clean wood pallets to make the mulch, that it is free of trash, twigs, roots, insects and other unwanted substances. From these pallets, Carelli produces brown, black and red mulch.
Once our product is thinly spread and cured, it will form a blanket to beautify the landscape beds, greatly reduce weed growth, yet will allow water, air, fertilizer and sunlight to filter down to the soil,” explains Carelli.
Carelli expects to wholesale Mulch Tech for about $8 a bag and says it will likely retail for $13-$14.
In addition to the basic bagged product, Carelli offers several more products to round out his line. First is the “Perimeter Series”. This is bagged mulch containing an additional amount of adhesive formula. It permits the consumer to form more dense and higher borders around the beds, allowing for even better retention of soil.
He notes that this product is especially useful to commercial landscapers applying mulch on beds around sidewalks and parking lots, as it prevents mulch from being trampled and spread by heavy foot traffic.
Another product offered is the “Decorator Series”. This is a custom blended mixture of mulch, adhesive and a wide range of pigmented colors. The product allows the landscaper to create custom in-ground artwork in mulch, such as corporate logos, addresses, company names, accent art and other designs.
“Without a doubt the Decorator Series is next in line to further the evolution of landscape art and decorative enhancement. It’s potential is only limited by your imagination,” says Carelli.
And finally, there is the “tune-up kit.” This kit contains a mixture of adhesive and color which is used to restore the original mulch bed. The formula in the kit is sprayed on, using a patented “Gravity Flow Wand”, allowing the user to have complete control over where the product is applied.
“Together,” Carelli concludes, “These products comprise a unique system for the consumer to address all problems in mulching and to create perfect landscaping.”
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