Excel Fibre Technologys Phytofibre hydro-seeding mulch is being used to re-seed half a million square metres of moorland near Inverness in Scotland, following the construction of a 40 turbine wind farm on the land. The Phytofibre mulch carries grass seed and other propagules, both protecting and hydrating them until they are able to germinate and take root on the bear tracts of land that were excavated or used as roadways while the wind farm was being built.
Manufactured from 100% recycled paper, Phytofibre offers further environmental benefits. Using waste paper as its raw material, it reduces the amount of household waste going into landfill sites, and because very little energy is used to convert the newspaper into fibre mulch, it has very low embodied energy. Both non-toxic and non-irritant, Phytofibre does not require special protective clothing during application. Having a neutral pH balance means it will not inhibit the germination of the seed. Phytofibre has been independently tested and proved to be absent of soil contaminants, including copper, nickel and zinc. It also biodegrades naturally without the need for catalytic additives.
The reseeding of the wind farm was undertaken by leading landscaping company, Aitchison Hydroseeding of Glasgow. The company selected Phytofibre because of its ability to retain moisture and remain knitted together around the seed, without breaking up, even during spreading. In addition, the compatibility of Phytofibre with the companys hydroseeding machines was a further key factor it is specification. The fibre remains freeflowing through the machine, and does not cause blocking or choking as can be the case with some mulches and it can be sprayed up to a distance of 180 feet, which greatly reduces the time to re-seed a given area.
In addition to grass, Aitchison Hydroseeding used heather and other lychins indigenous to the area to re-cover the land and reconstruct the attractive moorland scene.
Over 30 tonnes of Phytofibre was used for the project, supplied through DLF Trifolium of Worcester, Excels exclusive Phytofibre distributor.
Phytofibre fulfils the dual role of protecting the seed before and during germination and acting as a carrier for water that provides the seed with essential nourishment. The fibres in Phytofibre knit together around the seed, enveloping it completely in a protective mesh. Once sprayed, the seed is protected against wind, rain and temperature fluctuations and is provided with continual hydration to ensure successful germination. This ensures a hydro-seeded area will develop vegetation quickly and uniformly.
The fibre mulch holds up to 1500% its own weight of water, compared to 400% for other brands of mulch. Its water retention capability ensures newly sprayed seed is provided with vital nourishment necessary for successful germination. Its ability to absorb more water also increases its fluidity, thereby making it easier to spread. This, in turn, produces a more even and consistent finish, avoiding a patchy appearance when the seed begins to germinate.
Phytofibre can be used to provide a cover of vegetation quickly and reliably, to control erosion and protect the soil. It will stabilise the soil and promote rapid growth, whether used for landscaping or land reclamation. Phytofibre can be used on subsoils, tailings, stony soils, sea-dredged sand and demolition material. It has unlimited shelf life and can be stored indefinitely in dry conditions without experiencing degradation.
Excel Phytofibre was developed for applications such as the seeding of motorway embankments and parkland and has also demonstrated its capabilities in reseeding football pitches, golf courses and reclaimed wasteland such as quarries and refuse sites.