landscaping

credus_glauca_pendula

Bark is Essential for Landscaping

Tree and Plant Health: The Essential Role of Bark in Landscapes

Bark 1 from Tahoe National Forest

Bark decays to create mycelium. Mycelium assists plant roots in absorbing nutrients from the dirt; similar to the way that your gut bacteria help you to digest your food. Mycelium actually will augment your innate immune system: “Testing by NIS Labs confirmed that these three mycelium-centered products: increase innate immune cells for protection* activate white blood cells for immune strength* regulate immune cell compounds for a balanced immune response.” Check out my article on the “Health benefits of Mushrooms“.

I am constantly reminded of how powerful nature is; my friend Stella hosted a nature walk last week and taught that willow trees are actually the source for aspirin. It’s always fun to remember that we are generally ‘discovering’ science, rather than inventing things from nothing. It reminds me of recent advances in machine learning and AI; we are limited by our knowledge of ourselves!

In the intricate tapestry of a garden, every element plays a pivotal role in creating a harmonious and sustainable ecosystem. From the trees, to the flowering shrubs and overhanging evergreens to the dirt that supplies the plants with nutrients to the rocks that shade the plants and the movement of the sun’s warmth and rays through the canopy. Everything becomes harmonious. Bark—an often overlooked component—holds a unique place in contributing to the health and vitality and aesthetic of a landscape. Its journey from the protective outer layer of trees and shrubs to the ground to become dirt as it decays; bark is a critical component of the soil ecosystem underscores its importance in landscaping practices and maintenance. Trees need it. It’s how forests propogate.

Bark’s Initial Role and Its Breakdown Process

Bark serves as the skin of trees, protecting them against physical damage, pests, and diseases. Its chemical composition remains relatively consistent as it breaks down and makes its way, eventually, to the ground. Its role in the ecosystem undergoes a remarkable transformation once the bark touches the earth. As bark degrades, it embarks on a complex process of breaking down into smaller organic components. This decomposition is facilitated by a host of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, and invertebrates, which collectively contribute to its gradual transformation into nutrient-rich soil, also known as humus.

The Formation of Mycelium

One of the key players in the decomposition of bark is fungi, particularly through the formation of mycelium—a dense network of fungal threads that penetrate the soil and decomposing organic matter. Mycelium acts as nature’s recycling agent, breaking down complex organic compounds in the bark into simpler molecules that plants can easily absorb. It also creates communication channels for the trees in complex underground networks that can stretch for miles. This breakdown process not only enriches the soil but also improves its structure, enhancing its water retention and aeration qualities.

The presence of mycelium in the soil is a hallmark of a healthy ecosystem. It forms symbiotic associations with plant roots, known as mycorrhizae, which are crucial for the absorption of water and nutrients. Through these symbiotic relationships, mycelium extends the root system’s reach, allowing plants to access a larger volume of soil nutrients than they could on their own. This mutualistic interaction significantly boosts plant health, vigor, and growth. This is the biggest reason why bark is necessary for larger plants in a landscape.

Bark Mulch: A Catalyst for Healthier Landscapes

Incorporating bark additions into the landscape often mulch accelerates and emphasizes these ecological benefits. Bark mulch not only suppresses weeds but also maintains soil moisture and temperature, creating an ideal environment for mycelial growth and activity as well as root homeostasis and water retention capability in the soil. As bark slowly breaks down, it continuously feeds the soil ecosystem, promoting the development of a robust mycelium network.

The gradual degradation of bark mulch into soil enriches the microbial diversity of the soil, which is essential for nutrient cycling and disease suppression. This rich microbial ecosystem supports the growth of healthier plants, more resilient to pests and diseases, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Conclusion

Bark, in its journey from tree armor to a foundational component of the soil ecosystem, exemplifies the cyclical nature of life and the interconnectedness of all living things. Its degradation into dirt, transformation into mycelium, and interaction with plant roots illustrate a natural process of recycling and regeneration that is completely natural and extremely efficient. By understanding and harnessing the ecological roles of bark in landscapes, gardeners and landscapers can create more sustainable, healthy, and vibrant gardens that thrive in harmony with nature’s processes. Perhaps in the larger picture; we can learn to better manage our forests. I’ll end this article with a quote:

“Fungi not only cycle soil nutrients, but may deposit large amounts of recently fixed carbon in soils, building large pools of carbon in the form of complex molecules that contribute to long-term ecosystem carbon sequestration.” – Science Direct[1]

Bark is essential 2
References:
  1. Science Direct – Mycelium enhance forest nutrient dynamics
  2. Fungi.com – the Benefits of Mycelium
  3. Wikipedia – Mycelium
  4. PubMed – The effects of different types of mulch on soil properties and tea production and quality
  5. PubMed – Transformation of soil microbial community structure and rhizoctonia-suppressive potential in response to apple roots
  6. PubMed – Influence of Biochar on Soil Nutrients and Associated Rhizobacterial Communities
  7. Research Gate – Tree influence on soil microbial community structure
  8. Springer – the seed microbiome
  9. Learn more about Fungi @ Fantasticfungi.com

Bark is Essential for Landscaping Read More »

Finishing Landscaping Projects

This has been a year full of really cool landscaping projects! I’ve had a lot of excellent opportunities to expand my skill base and have worked really hard to make some yards stand out, look beautiful, and function properly

Getting into Fencing and Carpentry

These last three years I’ve done a lot of work. Recently I’ve gotten into something that I did not foresee; carpentry! Now I’ve done over a dozen fences and gates and am looking for more big projects to take on.

I was also able to build some steps and a landing for a client in Newcastle… I think it came out really nice! The before and after pictures are further down below.

Installing Artificial Grass

I’ve also gotten a chance to hone in my turf skills and work with some high quality fake grass. It’s a lot of work! The grading took several days and included road base, 3/4 crushed rock, decomposed granite, and sand. I also built the smaller fence to hide the pool equipment horizontally according to the customers specification.

Fence and gate to hide pool equipment

Full Yard Installs

This year I’ve done a couple of full year installs, but also got to do a lot of repairs. Its definitely easier to start a yard from scratch! Usually I try to make everything as accessible as possible for repairs, because I am usually the person that repairs things, especially outdoor irrigation and drainage.

Back Yard Play Area, mini-fence and wooden gates

Antelope Xeriscape Front Yard Installation

Newcastle Back Yard Full Install

My biggest project this year was the back yard revitalization in Newcastle. Check out some before and after pics!

Lots of work for a smaller sized yard! This project will be continuing to develop over time and I will be maintaining it.

Newcastle Yard

I’ve also finished some smaller yards, and some major repair work!

From a smaller back yard in Rocklin. I repaired the water feature and installed lots of new plants!

Repair Work

I was also able to save some clients money on their irrigation systems and fencing repairs! What a year of fun projects!

Irrigation Repair

Irrigation repair that saved a client THOUSANDS.
Gate Repair (new posts with existing panels)

Finishing Landscaping Projects Read More »

Building New Fences in 2021

This year has centered me around replacing fences in the area due to the major storm damage that insurance companies categorized as catastrophic. Thanks so much insurance companies! I have already finished 2 brand new fences and am actively working on the third and am bidding on lots of projects including smaller fences and some big landscaping projects. 2021 is looking fantastic so far!

The First Fence of 2021

My first fence of the year was a recommendation from another client. Though I didn’t get to use my “go-to” steel posts, I did get to paint a fence for the first time, which was really cool and fun with a paint sprayer! Painting and staining is a lot of hard work with one. The fence came out very straight considering I had to deepen many of the holes by 6-10 inches to ensure that the posts were two feet in the ground.

Overall, I am very satisfied with the result and so is the client. I did two cans of paint and used some really nice redwood materials. This was about 65ft of fence that turned into 80ft once the owner saw the work we were doing out there 😀

The Second Fence of 2021

The second fence was a recommendation through yoga, which is just such a great way to connect with people that are likeminded about nature, durability, and quality. My client wanted more privacy and needed her whole fence redone which ended up being about 200 feet of fencing.

This time I got to use steel posts and kicker boards to bring the fence up an extra foot for more privacy from the neighbor’s yard. I was lucky enough to find a fence board supplier during the massive shortage that California is currently experiencing.

I will be adding a latch to the bottom of the gate and am also hoping to stain the entire fence to help to optimize the lifespan of the boards. The client was so happy that she agreed to do a testimonial, so I will add that to the site as well as a post getting into more details about the project.

Moving Forward in 2021

I am already in the middle of my next fence project and am always looking for more work. So far this year has been very steady for work and I just want to keep that going. I also enjoy learning and working with unique situations so I am very excited for the potential of some of this years projects. Here are some progress photos from the job I am working on now that is right on the border with Folsom Lake.

Building New Fences in 2021 Read More »

Antelope Creek Bed

Elliot Telford’s Landscaping Projects from 2020

Check out the recently updated Landscaping section of my site in the menu above!

This year I have gotten some excellent opportunities to work in the Sacramento area. My projects are happening from Antelope to Auburn with lots of work in Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, and other places in Placer County.

I’ve been extremely lucky to have great customers that appreciate the level of quality, durability, and value that I can create in a project.

My projects can fit into 3 major categories:

1. Planting

Salvia and Drought Tolerant Hedgeline by Elliot Telford Landscapes
Salvia hedge and privacy fence in Roseville, CA

Most of my other work revolves around create an appropriate habitat for plants so that they can thrive. Plants are well suited to all environments, and sometimes it takes a bit of experimentation to get plants that work in tandem.

I am enjoying creating xeriscapes and using more drought tolerant plants; I am also learning to special the plants for different areas. Auburn is slightly different than Antelope, or even Rocklin, so the optimal plants are slightly different also.

2. Water: Irrigation/Drainage

Drainage is essential for the health of plants, especially drought tolerant and Xeriscape oriented plants. Sometimes, you can get away with superficial drainage, or non-subterranean drainage, by creating a creek bed in the landscape to create a path for water through the yard. Below, you can see a creek bed xeriscape I created in Antelope, CA:

3. Masonry, Carpentry, and Outdoor Structures

I have also been working very hard to learn masonry and mortar setting rock and brick. Masonry is really fun for me because I love to create long lasting work.

One of my most recently completed projects was a black slate patio in Roseville. This took me a couple of weeks of work with concrete that was already set. I did rough up the concrete a lot to ensure that the mortar had as much traction as possible and washed the rock with muriatic acid at the end. Check out the video!

I have also included some photos of my other projects. Enjoy!

Elliot Telford’s Landscaping Projects from 2020 Read More »

Bryant_front_driveway_gate

Landscaping Full-Time in 2019 (Placer County)

I’ve recently finished a few projects that I am proud of and I have an awesome mentor that is showing me how to do all sorts of incredible things with outdoor construction, landscapes, planting, cleaning up yards, taking down trees, etc. I’m getting into great position to generally setting people’s yards and property up for success and durable function.

I have ‘Partnered Up’ with Dave Thomas

I have a mentor and partner who is working with me on all of my projects and ensuring that I can be successful in the things that I am endeavoring. Dave Thomas will be working with me on my projects for the foreseeable future and that makes me stoked. I am working on his website now, get ready to view a catalogue of his 12+ years of landscaping projects.

New Truck, New Tools

I am investing the best tools I can get my hands on which includes an old 91 Dodge D250 thats only two years younger than I am. I can’t believe I’ll be 30 tomorrow, yikes!

my new truck!

I have a few recent projects that I am very proud of and plan on doing a bunch more this year. I’ve gotten very familiar with outdoor construction and am looking forward to learning as much as I can. I have pretty much all the tools that I need to landscape, so feel free to get into contact with me if you have a project, or want an estimate.

Finishing the Spiro’s Yard in Late 2018

Last year I got to install a front-yard on the borderline of granite bay and Roseville and it turned out great! Here are a few pictures of the walkway, patio, creekbed and plants that we installed. I’m really happy with how everything turned out and their new walkway is awesome! First project with mortar set flagstone 😀

Full Front Yard Rehab (new creek bed, DG Patio, three white Eurpoean Birch trees, and two red leaf maples

Jamie and Joe Bryant’s Yard in Old Roseville

At the end of last year and beginning of this year, I endeavored into a new project, this time a full backyard install complete with fencing, a new front gate, two new side gates, two larger planters, a garden fences, a trellis, and a completely new drain system, irrigation, and plant layout. Here’s how it turned out! (I’ll do a more comprehensive post on this yard later, it was a ton of work and a lot of it isn’t shown here.)

Jody Summer’s Yard in Old Roseville

A couple of weeks ago, we finished Jody Summer’s yard in old Roseville and it went swimmingly! it was a total of 5 days and we removed a on of concrete from an old sidewalk, got rid of 4 or 5 tree stumps, stump ground the remains, tilled the area for sod and reconfigured the irrigation (including adding a new timer and a dedicated drip valve. We designed an entirely new plant layout, constructed a brand new decomposed granite entry walkway, new sod, bark, and a little wildflower area down by the street (also covered in bark).

Tree Work in Berryessa and ForestHill Ranch

I got a chance to use my chainsaw a bunch on some bigger trees, its really a terrifying thing to be cutting huge sections off of multi-ton trees that could squash me at any second. I got a chance to work with my buddy Alex who is a tree expert and got to see him do some incredible climbing and John who is more of a ranching expert, but also knows a lot about trees and climbing. Tree work is dangerous as hell, man.

Onto More Projects in 2019!

Right now, Dave and I are working on a Tonnos off Greenback in Orangevale. I’m pretty excited for this one and will have some pics once everything is finished. I got to use a ditch witch for the first time! I also am employing a drone now, so my photos will be way better soon and I am going to start using more video footage. I’m looking forward to this next year of landscaping work in a big way!

Landscaping Full-Time in 2019 (Placer County) Read More »

New Growth in 2019

Busy Busy, Busy…

Lately, I have been consumed by starting a landscaping business, too busy to make music or work on my website. I started this new landscaping business and am working now as a designer landscaper in Sacramento. It’s hard work, but certainly pays the bills in a way that I don’t think yoga ever could. The only rich yogis that I’ve ever met are the Jois’ and they have an incredibly tightly run business in Mysore, India.

Landscaping is my Future

I love yoga and I might love making music even more. I am continuing to teach indefinitely, but as I said in my last article, I do have to scale back my yoga teaching from 8 times a week to 5. Teaching 5 yoga classes every week will still give me the opportunity to improve my teaching while doing a full time landscaping gig.

Creation is the Priority

I’ve always loved making stuff. These new planter beds that I have built in old Roseville are some of the coolest I’ve ever seen. I am learning how to create high quality, long lasting landscapes. Learning is my priority and I’ve gotten good at using concrete and also at working with dirt and grading, plants, drains, and the whole process of putting together a nice backyard. But I also bought a guitar recently and have started playing, learning chords, and am going to start learning some songs soon. Even though I am busy, I am busy doing stuff that I love so I always have more energy! Until its time to fall asleep.

The Cost of Artistry

Honestly, life has been completely exhausting lately. I fell asleep at 9:30 on New Years. I had a couple beers, but man I can’t party worth a shit anymore! But I guess thats a good thing! I like waking up early anyways, so heading off to work at 5 or 6 isn’t a big deal at all. Only I have a really hard time staying up later, which is pretty weird for me. I’ve had mild insomnia for as long as I can remember. My New Years resolution is to work on staying up later, so I can have more social fun time! Also, to play a few shows in 2019, something I didn’t get a chance to do in 2018.

Finding Balance between Passions

My yoga practice has actually been revitalized in a big way by landscaping. I need it to take care of my joints and relax my muscles which get overworked on the daily from using power tools and you know, repetitive pounding motions. I think I have found a trifecta of things to do that I love!

Looking Forward to 2019

Expect more landscapes, different mediums of sharing my art and blog articles in 2019! Apologies for not writing in a while, but I’m excited to continue blogging. See you on the yoga mat…

Thanks for reading,

Elliot

New Growth in 2019 Read More »

Split Worlds

Life Update: Split Between Worlds

Split Worlds of Yoga, Landscaping, EDM and Art

Sometimes, I want to just focus on one thing, but I seem to live within three split worlds. I’m almost always working. Teaching yoga isn’t lucrative enough to focus on completely, landscaping isn’t really a sustainable profession outside of my 20s and 30s, nor is it very lucrative, and music actually doesn’t make me money at all yet, though someday soon I hope it does. I want to play live (and am almost ready to), which is where all of the money is!

My music is starting to get hot. Check back in soon for updates on what I’m making for y’all.

Expressing Elliot’s Art

My focus is on creating the type of art that I appreciate, love, and feel. Honestly, its not worth it if I don’t appreciate what I’m doing, the process will become unsustainable, which in work is the name of the game. I love making music and teaching yoga, and landscaping, but get torn between the three as I try to grow.

My yoga teaching has certainly improved drastically over the past couple of years. I try to bring my own style into the art as much as possible to express what I have inside of me and share. This is true of teaching yoga, writing, composing, sound design, this blog, making music videos, etc. I am trying to express myself! It is extraordinarily time consuming to do all these things in my own way because I have to literally develop the style from scratch! And I get pretty hard on myself sometimes. And then when I’m not feeling it, I have to go back to the drawing board and completely rethink what the hell I am doing! It’s crazy how much effort I am putting into this stuff!

Unique Flavors

I am constantly working to create something that no one has ever done before. It’s part of why I am making my own visual for music and why I want to DJ and teach yoga at the same time. My sounds are all my own, next to the library professional drum and synth samples that I have collected and analyzed over the last 3 years, and I am slowly collecting all of the top-of-the-line software  that I am learning to use optimally within my productions. Yoga is something that has always been very personal to me, so learning how to develop my style of teaching is also really helping me to develop my style of ddm production.

Getting Equipment

I finally have my instrument and am in the process of learning how to use it in sync with my computer to create the kind of beats that I have been making in the last 3 years.

Yoga is really cool because it doesn’t require equipment at all. If the state of California weren’t a bunch of money grubbing bastards, I could start an entire business in a public park. No wonder that state wants a piece of yoga.

Landscaping is actually a lot like music in this regard. Good equipment helps to get the job done exponentially faster and with higher quality in the finished product. Plus, power tools are so much fun to use!

No time for Wasting

Tons of my new songs are very very close to ready for release. Yesterday I spent the day getting organized and designing sounds. I’m getting close to the majority of tracks from the album. Most of them are fully structured, but the chord progressions and melodies all need work. I will release the album progressively as it helps people to digest the tracks (I honestly should re-release some of the tracks from 0, I feel like they are under-appreciated).

Yoga teaching is going phenomenally, though it always has its rough patches. I am really getting into my own flow and style and it is simply awesome to see that dream begin to form into reality. People are starting to get my message as I become more fluent in communicating it. Honestly, there are few things in this world as rewarding as communicating with and assisting other people in achieving what they want.

Landscaping is also going great, I have completely landscaped my mom’s backyard in Auburn. I am working on a multi-leveled trenching permaculture system to bring water to plants as it flows. I’ll do a post about the garden soon, once fall starts to hit. Landscaping makes decent money on the side of yoga and I get to spend time outside, so it works out great.

Conclusions of Split Worlds

Lots of the time, I wish I could just make music full time. I love contrasting melodies against basses and synthesizing sounds that I’ve never heard before and turning them into fat beats. Teaching yoga is such an important part of clearing my mind to create. I honestly couldn’t imagine one without the other. My main jobs are like the yin-yang, countering each other. Landscaping kind of sits between the two.

Anyways, here’s to the end of July! On 9/1 I am going to release my HAZE EP so get stoked. I will release the tracks progressively, as usual. I’ve also just finished a collab, and it is a very cool track. Be on the look-out from some live streams and yoga youtube tutorials, hoping to start them soon!

ttyl,

the E.T.

Life Update: Split Between Worlds Read More »

Scroll to Top

Subscribe

ElliotTelford.com

We promise we’ll never spam! Take a look at our Privacy Policy for more info.