Do you, my fellow red dirt gardeners, know how to properly mulch around your trees? Are you able to select from the images above the tree that is properly mulched? I know I see all too many trees mulched as the picture on the left, by home owners and professionals. In fact, mulched piled high up the truck is all too common of a site. This practice is called “volcano mulching” and creates a very unhealthy environment for the tree.
Red Dirt Gardening’s 5 Things to Know About Mulching Trees
1. Deep mulch can lead to excess moisture in the root zone, which can stress the plant and cause root rot.
2. Piling mulch against the trunk or even the stems of other plants, creates stress. A stressed plant or tree will most likely lead to insect and disease problems.
3. PH is often adversely affected by an over abundance of mulch, the improper use of mulch, or the wrong type of mulch. Especially those mulches containing cut grass. Over long periods of time, this type of mulching causes deficiencies or toxicities in the soil because of the high nitrogen levels created by the grass clippings, as well as the suffocation of the micro organisms in the soil.
4. Mulch piled high against the trunks of young trees may create habitats for rodents that chew the bark. The tree may also girdle.
5. Thick blankets of fine mulch can become matted and may prevent the penetration of water and air. In addition, a thick layer of fine mulch can become like potting soil and may support weed growth (they are very easy to pull out of mulch).
In closing, trees once stressed by improper mulching often never really achieve their potential beauty because of the unhealthy environment that has been created for them.
Remember: If the tree had a say in the matter, its entire root system would be mulched going out away from the tree about 3 feet with no mulch against its trunk. The mulch would be at a depth of up to 3 or 4 inches deep. This will help conserve moisture and add nutrients as the mulch decomposes.
No tree nor plant should ever be mulched up the trunk or stem.
The “Original” RED DIRT GARDENER