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1. What is EkoCover

Mulch mats EkoCover have been produced since 2008 in Europe at the VUC Services production site in Zvoleneves, Czech Republic.
The mat is designed to replace plastic foils or other different kinds of materials used in landscaping, horticulture, agriculture and forestry. EkoCover mulch mat is a paper mat, primarily manufactured from waste paper. EkoCover mulch mat has organic Czech certification as well as the Czech Ecolabel.

The mat is uniquely manufactured in the form of a continuous laminate (sheet) that will suppress weeds, promote plant growth;conserve water; is fully biodegradable, will moderate (extreme) soil temperatures;eliminate or reduce the use of herbicide, reduce plant mortality;carry beneficial additives within the laminate to deliver to both the soil and plant root system; allows for flexibility in the manufacturing process in terms of roll and square sizes / and useful life as a result of the laminate thickness, and much more.; EkoCover is 'the responsible choice' when it comes to purchasing weed suppressant products, reducing landfills, conserving water and removing plastic from the landfills and landscape.  

2.1 How do I use EkoCover ?

The mat is easily cut, handled and laid. There is no discernable difference between the laying procedure for black plastic (woven and extruded), other non organic mulches and EkoCover. The product is completely inert, non toxic, non allergenic and no skin contact issues exist to our knowledge.
EkoCover's standard range will suffice for most requirements, noting in particular the overlap requirements for rolls laid adjacent to one another. Non standard sizes are easily cut either with large sharp scissors or a cutting knife / blade. Special square sizes and roll widths / lengths may be available upon request. Sizes available according to our PRICE LIST in shapes of rolls or squares.

We do not recommend to handle the mat whilst damp or wet weather (laying or walking on it). EkoCover is a reinforced paper product laminate and requires a degree of structural integrity during laying and planting. As the mat softens with the uptake of precipitation (rain / irrigation) it becomes very soft and moulds / adheres to the soil surface. At this stage the mat can be disturbed by boots and shoes. As the mat dries it becomes progressively sturdier and will easily resist foot pressure.Should any damage occur, patching is easy.

We do not recommend reusing our mats. One of the unique key product attributes is 100% biodegradability. The mat will slowly degrade into the soil and in doing so; it binds itself to the soil surface. Removing the mat at some later date would be extremely difficult due to the possibility of tearing, but also due to the fact that the biodegradation process is now underway, possibly well advanced and adhesion to the soil surface has begun. It is unnecessary to remove the mat from the soil after its life cycle. EkoCover is 100% compostable and biodegradable (Massey University research).

EkoCover is one of the few products in the world that is manufactured from recycled waste materials (up to 85% by weight) and is itself 100% recyclable, 100% biodegradable and eco-friendly. Lifespan of mats are different according to way of application, climatic conditions and terrain.

The mat is best held in dry storage until required.

2.2 Preparation of ground and plant care

The ground preparation required is the same for other mulches. However with EkoCover it is important sharp rocks are completely removed as when the product is wet they may penetrate the mat.
Fertilizing: Non in such applications as landscaping and revegetation. But yes in such applications as row crop plantings where a grower would normally apply an appropriate base fertilizer dressing, however additional side dressing should not be necessary due to the fertilizer incorporated in the EkoCover mat. Uniquely, EkoCover mulch mat is pre-enriched with an organic fertilizer. The mulch mat has sufficient fertilizer to provide a continuous application of nutrients to the soil during the mat degradation process.

Irrigation: Irrigation will be the same but most probably lower than in standard application. EkoCover effectively retards the evaporation process. Independent research proved that EkoCover can conserve more than 80% of the soil moisture beneath the mat, thereby saving considerable water usage and cost. Following rain / irrigation, as EkoCover begins to dry it forms a barrier that holds the ground moisture below the mat, unlike other fully permeable mulch products. Other mulches will allow water to transfer down through the mat; however being a geofabric construction or static mulch, evaporation will also take place through the same holes removing much of the water from the soil back into the atmosphere.

How to improve the look of the mat: Exposure to the sun will whiten the mat's appearance. There are a variety of ways to cover the mat should that be required. If bark or some organic mulch is used over the mat, the thickness required will be just sufficient to cover the mat's surface as the EkoCover will be providing outstanding weed suppression, not the bark

2.3 What is an EkoPin ?

EkoPin is manufactured from a fully biodegradable natural product that has both strength and impact resistance. The length is 170mm and it is primarily used to anchor the mat down to the soil surface.

After a time the pin will de-compose although it is still able to be used until advanced de-composition takes place.

3.1 What are the advantages of EkoCover

The combined benefits of EkoCover mulch may provide you significant cost savings in any or all of the following:
. Weed control – for the life of the mat
. No herbicide maintenance periods following planting
. No fertilizer application as a secondary process
. Saves water usage, soil moisture conservation
. Evens out soil temperature fluctuation
. Accelerates plant growth
. Increases yield
. Higher quality produce
. A possible reduction in plant mortality
. A possible cost saving in plant density

3.2 Unique properties of EkoCover

The mat is organic 100% biodegradable and compostable and eco-friendly.EkoCover mulch mat is pre-enriched with an approved organic fertilizer. Thanks to its delivery mechanism the mulch mat has sufficient fertilizer to provide a continuous application of nutrients to the soil during the mat degradation process.

There are no harmful substances or trace elements in the mat. A red coloured mat to improve the reflectivity from the mat's upper surface and trick the plants into thinking they have competition from neighbouring weeds is also an option.

3.3 Competitive advantages of EkoCover

EkoCover is the world's most complete mulch and will provide significant benefits in terms of weed control; 100% biodegradable; water conservation; plant growth; healthy soil; a better environment in respect of the landscape and landfill usage; a reduction of harmful herbicides and groundwater leaching; possibly plant losses; better yields and quality; a unique delivery mechanism (e.g. fertilizer enriched). The vast majority of mulches do one thing in particular to one degree or another – inhibit weed growth. EkoCover's product attributes will not only inhibit weed growth benefiting the environment, the soil and the plants.

Advantages over bark mulch:
Bark will suppress weeds providing the layer is sufficiently thick. EkoCover is more cost effective once transport; labour; the thickness of the bark layer; site handling; and post maintenance costs (possible plant replacement / herbicide use to control weeds) to the plants have been taken into account.
Bark is often packed in plastic carry bags, especially for retail, thus contributing to the world's plastic waste. EkoCover achieves 100% zero waste when used, including any packaging.
Bark will conserve some water, however the nature and structure of the cover will also allow for evaporation. EkoCover is proven to conserve 80%+ of water – an increasingly scare and expensive commodity in many parts of the world.
Bark will degrade in a landfill, paper will not, therefore EkoCover provides a sustainable solution to landfill problems by removing paper from the waste stream.

Cost effectiveness labour and transport:
Generally for mulches that are in roll or square form (geofabric type materials), the transport costs, handling, ground preparation and laying are very similar to that of EkoCover – the major difference with EkoCover being a substantial saving in remedial and maintenance costs (both transport and time) after planting as well as healthier soil and excellent plant growth. With bulk mulches such as bark, the cost structure is entirely different. Such products require bulk hauling (usually several times to deliver to the place of application) at an ever increasing cost of transportation; then it is usually dumped in bulk before further bulk moving (by front end loader for example); or by hand loading and wheel barrow; the variation in thickness (a direct cost) is huge and control of these costs are very difficult to determine and monitor. The true cost of bulk mulch, even if the raw material source is very cheap, is high and frequently high post planting maintenance costs add to this.

4.1 Product labelling „Environmentally Friendly“ – what does this eco-labelling means?

EcoCover is the first paper mulch mat in the world to secure an internationally accredited eco-label license the Czech Ecolabel "Environmentally Friendly" and also approved Czech certification for organic products.

4.2 How does EkoCover affect the environment?

EkoCover doesn’t harm the soil, saves considerable water usage and eliminates herbicide usage. EkoCover provides a nutrient for worm life thus increasing the worm population. If the mat is ploughed into the soil it will be totally consumed by worms over time.

4.3 What is the percentage of recycled content in the mat?

Up to 87.77% by weight depending on the mat construction.

4.4 How can EkoCover reduce the amount of waste ?

EkoCover production processes during a week of single shifts per day up to 9 tons of waste paper. The great news is that this landfill volume is made to literally disappear into the soil in a beneficial way due to the EkoCover mat technology. EkoCover removes landfill volume permanently. Many, indeed most recycling enterprises and products will eventually end up incinerated or in a landfill. EcoCover disappears thus permanently taking away landfill volume.EkoCover -making a difference to global sustainability and the planet's environment.By using EkoCover as a plastic replacement you will achieve two significant environmental benefits:

Paper is removed from the landfill waste stream and allowed to 100% naturally biodegrade.

Legislation is being passed in various countries including the United Kingdom and the United States making the disposal of plastic waste more difficult and expensive. For example, the use of pesticides on the plastic in certain States now renders this to be a hazardous waste material incurring a premium penalty for disposal. This trend will only continue and become more problematic for growers. EkoCover is a perfect substitute offering so much more as comprehensive mulch.