Mulch Blasters Bring Landscaping Evolution

Mulch blasting machines are changing the face of the landscaping industry.

"Jobs are affected," says Josh Skolnick, founder and CEO of Monster Tree Service.

The U.S. Census Bureau says the mulch merchant wholesaler business has been increasing since 2005, but the advent of mulch blowing machines and other large hunks of metal are taking a toll on hard labor.

"Each mechanized mulch blowing machine that's out there is essentially replacing 20-plus general labor employees," says Skolnick.  "It's given us the ability to be more competitive from a price standpoint because we've cut out a lot of labor."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 10% of landscaping jobs “blew away” from 2006 to 2012. Although this drop in numbers can be attributed to the economy, Skolnick says the future is still uncertain for hard labor.

"The advancement of equipment is definitely not helping the economy from a jobs standpoint - it's only helping consumers save money which in turn is taking jobs away from the American working class."

Even though these bark blowers are replacing human labor, Michael Campbell, owner of Pro-Lawn Landscape Inc. says large mulch machines cut his time in half.

"Oh it's more than half.  A property this size would take someone with a wheel barrel about two weeks, where we can do it in probably two to three days," says Campbell.

Only time will tell the result of technological growth as it becomes a larger competitor with human hands.

"I think between the rise in fuel costs and the downturn in the economy over the last 5 to 6 years, I think you're going to notice in all blue collar industries - technology and equipment beginning to take over.  For years, hard workmanship and craftsmanship of peoples bare hands were doing the work - and now everything is becoming more and more mechanized," says Skolnick.

Research from IBIS World still expects the $50 billion landscaping industry to scoop up more cash this year.