• Comparing the Ignitability of Mulch Materials for a Firewise Landscape

      DeGomez, Tom; Rogstad, Alix; Schalau, Jeff; Kelly, Jack; Plant Sciences, School of (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2007-09)
      Eight different landscape mulches were tested for their flammability using a propane torch, charcoal briquette, and a cigarette at two different times of the year. Three randomized compete blocks with eight one square meter plots were tested at three locations; Tucson, Prescott, and Flagstaff, Arizona. Each of the mulches was subjected to the heat of a handheld propane torch (15 seconds), a glowing charcoal briquette (five minutes), and a lit cigarette (until burned out). We found that the least dense mulches (pine needles and straw) burned rapidly when subjected to the torch and ignited after the briquette was removed. The medium density mulches (pine bark nuggets and wood chips) had low flame lengths and smoldered. Heavy density mulches (garden compost and shredded bark) only smoldered. The decomposed granite and sod did not ignite or smolder.