by Terri Wiebold
Every spring and summer, Castle Pines North (CPN) residents are encouraged to participate in Douglas County’s Slash and Mulch Program, beginning Memorial Day weekend and continuing on through Labor Day weekend. The program is part of Douglas County’s wildfire mitigation plan, and it allows residents to take an active role in fire prevention in the community. This has been a very dry season and the fire danger is extremely high, creating an even greater need for participation in the program. But what exactly is slash, and why should CPN residents be interested in turning it into mulch?
What is Slash?
Slash is ground residue left from the cutting and trimming of trees and shrubs, fallen dead trees, or limbs and needles which have fallen from trees. If not properly removed and disposed of, it is fuel for a wildfire, and there is an abundance of it in open spaces throughout CPN. Ultimately, the materials are ground down into chips and mulch is created from the slash materials. Mulch is then made available to CPN residents free of charge.
Mulching trees and shrubs is a good method to reduce landscape maintenance and keep plants healthy. Mulch helps conserve moisture -- 10 to 25 percent reduction in soil moisture loss from evaporation. Mulch helps keep the soil well aerated by reducing soil compaction that results when raindrops hit the soil. It also reduces water runoff and soil erosion. Mulch also helps maintain a more uniform soil temperature (warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer) and it promotes the growth of soil microorganisms and earth worms.
The drop-off location for the program is the Plum Creek Wastewater Authority, 1400 Caprice Drive in Castle Rock. Drop-off times are Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mulch is also made available for residents to pick up for personal use during the same hours and at the same location.
This program is a cooperative effort sponsored by Douglas County, the Plum Creek Wastewater Authority, and the Town of Castle Rock. It runs every Saturday through September 2. For questions or additional information, call the Douglas County Operations Division at 303-660-7480 or visit www.douglas.co.us/publicworks and click on the “Slash and Mulch” Program.