FAQs


For your convenience, our most common customer questions are answered right here.

Not finding what you want? Reach out directly through our Contact Us page.

Delivery questions

Can you deliver to my backyard?

Our truck must stay on the road or your driveway for safety.

Do I have to be home when you make my delivery?

Nope,  most of our customers choose not to wait around for the mulch guy.  Just leave us a check & mark the drop spot.

What do you charge for delivery?

Each product has a delivered price listed in the Home Delivery category.  This is the price we charge for a delivery to the town of Hampshire.  We do charge extra for deliveries that take more time/fuel.  The list of those charges can be seen here: delivery rates 2016 or by entering your zip code in the shopping cart after selecting your product.

Please note that the zip code method is great for computers, there are some exceptions.  If you feel the computer is “just not getting it”, please feel free to call us at 847-683-1013.

Also note that a few zip codes that span the Fox River have different rates East and West.  Each order submitted via this website is subject to review and modification, you will have the opportunity to approve or reject any changes made.

One final note, delivery rates are based on a round trip, including loading and unloading time, traffic and road restrictions.  These may be very different from the time needed to drive a car one way.   The time is exponentially more expensive in an commercial vehicle with strict safety, licensing and registration requirements, in a time-sensitive season.

Thanks for your understanding!

 

What time will the driver be here?

If you place an order Thursday, it should be there on Thursday.

That works for 80% of our deliveries, but sometimes we have to get more precise, and we can do that to an extent.  We just ask you to consider a few options before requesting a specific delivery window.

  • Spreading Crew.  If you have workers lined up, have the mulch delivered a day or two before.
  • Payment.  Most of our customers arrange to leave us a check so they do not have to wait for a driver
  • Drop Site.  Mark the drop site on the drive with a chalk X or a bucket.  just look up for overhead obstructions that may prevent the truck from safely unloading.
  • Move the cars.  If this can be done before you leave, just tell us when we will have access.

There are still plenty of good reasons you would want to schedule a time, or at least have an idea when the guy will show up,  we will be happy to shoot for a 2-hour window, limited by traffic conditions, etc.  (we don’t want to be sitting at Randall & Algonquin Rd for 20 minutes)

Planning for busy days, we often juggle the schedule till the trucks leave the yard, trying to accommodate last-minute changes and busy roads (broken trucks, sick drivers, material shortages!)

  • Even a 10 mile delivery can take an hour, round trip.  Loading the truck, reviewing the order, driving, locating the drop site, payment, dropping the load, and returning all take time.  Sometimes one of these variables takes a little longer than normal, pushing the remaining deliveries back.
  • Each truck may be responsible for 15 deliveries on a busy day.  A 4-5 minute delay on each adds up to over an hour.
  • If one truck is suddenly unavailable (it happens, even to new trucks!)  the others have a full day’s work to split.

All of that being said, we made several hundred deliveries last year with just a few hick-ups.  We will keep trying to improve, with your help.  Here’s what we ask:

  • Set the delivery for a day or two before you need it.
  • Pay by check and leave it on the front door or other pre-arranged spot.
  • Mark the delivery spot with an X or a bucket.
  • If you have paid by Credit Card, or pre-paid by check, make sure the drop spot is clearly marked.
  • Make sure the drop spot is accessible, flat and level – no overhead obstructions.  look out for wires.

Thanks very much for considering us!  We want to continue to provide dependable service at reasonable prices, if you need something that isn’t listed here, please feel free to ask when placing your order.

Firewood Questions

Do you sell kindling?

Bundles of kindling are available for purchase.  Customers who pick up firewood (minimum 1/4 fc) may pick through the scrap pile for free.

How do I know I’m getting a face cord? Also, what’s a face cord?

In this area, a common measurement is a face cord, measuring 4′ x 8′ x 16″.  A full cord is a stack that measures 4′ x 4′ x 8′.  We also offer half face cords (4’x4′) and quarter face cords (4’x 2′).

face cord diagram

Our wood is pre-stacked in face-cord sized racks, where the wood has been aging in the sun and wind.  We tightly cross stack the ends of the racks so the stack wont fall over, and compensate for any lost volume by increasing the height by about 4″.   When you stack it at home it will measure 32 square feet (4′ x 8′)

Our half and quarter face cords are sold directly from steel racks of the correct dimension.  These are now kept under roof when our “dry-goods” area switches from mulch to firewood in the fall.

 

 

 

How should I store my firewood?

Outside, elevated from the ground and covered on the top.  We only sell firewood that has been dries to under 20% moisture, but it will only get better if you allow it to continue to cure properly.  Damp wood stored in a snug garage will stay damp.  Here is a picture I have to share01dba554048f96cdc5afa53297c7e6db56b7d543cf.

On a recent trip to New England, I saw these buildings everywhere, though maybe not as nice as this.  When I pulled into this customer’s drive with a load of firewood I had to ask, and sure enough he had just moved here from the East.  In true Yankee fashion, he frugally used left over building material and makes good use of the structure in the summer months as well.

Not all of us have the room for a woodshed so racks are a good choice for most.  Home depot offers a quick and easy rack system that you put together with 2×4’s.  Set this up on stable ground and add a cover and your wood will be nice and cozy.

We make our own heavy gauge steel racks for our customer loading areas, and by request have been offering them for home use, new and used.

What type of firewood is best?

Are you primarily using the wood for:

  • Heat?  Hickory or Oak have the most btu’s.  Less flame but more heat = fewer trips to the wood box.
  • Fireplace?  For quick pretty fires start with Mixed Hardwood or maybe Cherry.  If you want a longer lasting fire add Oak or Hickory as needed
  • Backyard Fire?  Mixed Hardwood or whatever you have on hand.
  • Cooking?  We supply Hickory, Apple, & Oak in face cords, bundles, & chunks.  We also have Hardwood and Mesquite lump charcoal as well as all natural charcoal briquettes (competition grade, but competitively priced)
  • Decoration?  We occasionally stock white birch, but more commonly see river birch.

A nice description of Illinois hardwoods, compiled by the University of Illinois Extension,  is reproduced here.

Mulch Questions

Questions relating to the purchase and use of mulch

How big is a yard?

One cubic yard measures 3′ x 3′ x 3′.

cubic-yard

How deep should mulch be?

short answer: 3″

long answer: Proper Mulching Techniques   good info by the International Society of Arboriculture, Champaign, IL

How long will the color last?

It’s a fact, mulch will fade.  Sun and rain work together to bleach and wash the wood till the colors are all gone.  How fast?  its impossible to say but if you feel that you need a little more color a quick fix is to scratch the surface with a rake.  This will expose a fresh, darker layer.  Dyed products tend to last a little while longer than their natural counterparts.

  • Try to avoid piling too much mulch in your beds, just to cover a thick but faded mulch layer.  Too much mulch can be detrimental to the soil ecosystem.
  •  Fine mulch keeps its color longer than coarse mulch, it’s the actual pieces of wood that fade.
  • Mulch that has been “cooking” in a well-tended, huge pile for months tends to get darker and stay darker.  (i.e. our Bean’s Blend, later in the season)
  • Freshly cut and ground bark mulch, that hasn’t had time to mature in a huge pile, can fade quickly  ( Rain + Sun + High Wood Content)

This all means nothing to your plants.  Weeds won’t grow faster thru faded mulch, and all the things that happened to make your mulch fade would have otherwise adversely affected your soil and plants.

 

How many bags does it take to make a yard?

13.5  That is if the bag is a 2 cubic foot bag, which is our standard size for mulch.  Compost and soil may be heavier and contain less volume.

046
2 yards of mulch covered by a tarp held down with 1/4 fc firewood

Its always the best value to buy in bulk, if you need it and if you can haul it.  If you need 5 or more yards a delivery from us is probably the best route.  If you need to mulch around a new tree then bags are your answer.   The 2-3 yard projects get a little more involved, as we just can’t afford to send out a truck and driver for a small order without charging an extra fee.  To save a few bucks many customers swing by the farm to get a yard or two on the pickup or trailer.  A nice benefit with this plan is that you can get exactly what you need, and even come back if you run a little bit shy.  We have several customers who rent a truck from Menards or Home Depot and use it to haul (our beautiful) bulk mulch to their (well manicured) homes.  The clever customer pictured here bought some firewood to hold down the tarp covering his mulch – nice multitasking.

The benefit with bags is that you can haul it in your trunk and can carry the bag to the bed and just keep going till your done.

bags chart

How much mulch do I need?

You can either use our Mulch Calculator, or this handy guide.

A rule of thumb is one yard to cover 100 square feet 3″, so the 2nd best way to guess how much you need is to walk around the yard with a notepad and measure the individual beds, squaring them off into approximate rectangles, then adding up the total square feet, if you come up with 1200, get 12 yards. (if you want 3″ depth).

The best way is to learn from experience, call us to see what you used last time, and make adjustments as needed. Keep in mind that it’s ok to be a little under or over 3″, so take advantage of volume discounts if possible, or maybe even plan your mulching schedule to meet minumum delivery load sizes.

 

 

How often should I spread mulch?

A good goal is to keep the soil covered with 3 inches, some start with 4″ and squeeze an extra year between mulchings, whatever works for you and your schedule/budget. Try to prevent bare spots, if you can see soil today, you will see weeds tomorrow.

Here are a few mulching strategies our customers employ.

Every Year Best way to keep consistent mulch coverage and prevent weeds from getting a foothold, predictable workload and expense.

Skip a Year Common, basically the same volume required, but to get constant coverage a thicker layer is needed to begin with. Some bald spots likely on slopes, high wind, or high traffic areas.

Twice a year Break it up into front and back, gives a chance to add fresh color to opposite area. Also permits use of two products.

3 Year Cycle Probably quite a few bare spots, and limited or no weed control at the end. Popular strategy for busy parents with kids in sports!

Which mulch is best?

Your plants don’t care how much you spent on mulch.  All of our mulch varieties give approximately the same benefit, the real difference is how it looks to you.  Look over the descriptions of the various products and choose the one that seems to be the best fit.  Remember, mulch is not a one-time deal, you will be replacing or replenishing every year or two.  At that time, you may choose to switch things up a bit.  Tell us what you didn’t like about the previous choice and we will be glad to try to match you with a more suitable product.

Why does mulch stink?

Ok, it doesn’t always stink, but…our mulch includes no manure or compost, but the minute that tree died it started decomposing – combine that with the heat of a huge damp pile and you can get some funky odors, while sometimes it just smells like wood.    Some love the smell and some hate it, but it doesn’t last more than a few days after you spread it.

Southern Bark may be a better choice for sensitive sniffers, if Cedar or Cypress is not available.

Our compost does however smell of compost, which oddly enough our gardening customers seem to like.

Picking up at the farm

How much can my truck hold?

Most pickups can hold 2 yards.  Full size, 8 foot bed trucks with no toolbox can hold 3.  Smaller, step-side trucks or those with toolboxes may only hold 1.  These numbers are for relatively light weight mulch.  Most trucks we see will safely carry only 1/2 yard of gravel or sand.

What are your hours?

We have 3 “Seasons“:

Summer (April thru August)

M-F   8:00 AM  –  5:00 PM

Sat 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Fall  (September-October)

M-F  9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Sat 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Winter (November – March)

Tues-Sat  9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

 

Feel free to call after hours – if we are near a phone, we’ll pick up, if not leave a message and we will return the call promptly.

Contractors:  We have special operating hours for contractors, please call for more information.

We are closed on Sundays and all major Holidays.

 

Will someone help me?

Stop by the office, we will process the order and get you parked in the right spot.  For bulk materials, we use a loader to fill your truck or trailer.

Firewood and bagged material is self serve (call ahead if you need a hand).

Load safety is always the responsibility of the driver, bring a tarp for materials that may blow around, and be aware of any weight restrictions.  A partial list of material weights is listed here.