Mulch is important to any landscape; it provides nutrients for plants and is aesthetically pleasing. Do you know what else mulch can do? Kill your trees. Not to be dramatic, but improper mulching techniques are rampant and can kill your trees if it is not done right. The other thing to note: it is easy to mulch the right way, you just have to know what it is supposed to look like.

Mulch Volcanoes

This is what over mulching leads to, and can ultimately kill your tree. By adding too much mulch around the base of the tree, it piles up and surrounds the trunk, like a volcano. The problem here is that the base of the trunk is supposed to be exposed for a variety of reasons. The excess moisture in the tree, can get trapped at the base and cause rotting, which can lead to the death of the tree. Additionally, the mulch cuts off the roots of the trunks access to air; and obviously, all plants need access to air to stay healthy. The tree can also try and compensate by growing adventitious roots; these roots, unfortunately, are likely to wrap themselves around the base of the tree, girdling it. While mulch volcanoes can cause serious harm, they are easy to avoid with proper mulching.

The Proper Way to Add Mulch to Your Trees and Plants

Top properly much, spread your materials under trees shrubs and throughout planting beds. 3-4 inches is the recommended depth for proper mulch covering. Here is the important part: you want to pull the mulch away from the base of any plants (see picture below). This will create a sort of ‘donut hole’ around the base of the plant. This is when you want to avoid the mulch Volcanoes, or mulch going up the base of the plant.

Once you have the base of the plant sufficiently not covered, make sure the mulch is going out from the base as far as the branches do; this is called the drip line. The moisture that drips from the branches of the plant should drip down into the mulch.

If you ever have questions about proper mulching, need help getting rid of a mulch volcano, or would like to hire us to do your mulching call us today! We will work with you to get your trees healthy and lawn looking fantastic.