View Full Version : How thick do you lay mulch?
08-30-2005, 09:46 AM
For new beds I lay it in at 4", but usually for everything else I only do an inch. I ask because I was reading the landscape architects install plan on a job I'm doing, I was really bored, and he says never do more than 2". What are your thoughts? I've always believed that if you can stay around 4" with some snapshot you will never have weed problems.
08-30-2005, 09:51 AM
There's the problem....don't listen to landscape architects....They value engineer most landscapes and any other time all they do is spec the wrong plant in the wrong locations.
No more than four usually around 3".
I don't dislike L/A's but Man I have seen some stupid designs...It rare that you find one that either specs the plants/locations properly or will stand his ground whith the developer/owners about what goes were....
zim bob the landscaper
08-30-2005, 10:38 AM
we lay about 2 - 3".
Dreams To Designs
08-30-2005, 11:07 AM
Marc may be right, many landscape architects use the books and not as much practical experience. I do spec mulch at 2"-3" for moisture retention and weed suppression. And please keep it away from the trunks of trees and shrubs. Mulch volcanoes are bad!!!
08-30-2005, 12:09 PM
I know some L/A's do take some hort classes, I know to get my Hort Degree I had to to take a couple L/A classes. What is the funniest/saddest is when they spec a tree to save and they put stakes in the ground and erect a fence around the tree about 5 feet away from the trunk.....And they expect it to live....after the site contruction and vehicle abuse on the majority of the roots
08-30-2005, 09:01 PM
This reminds me of a mulch job a few years ago. Simple top dress over existing, a planned on about 2". We get started and the home owner comes out all upset that were not laying it thick enough. I tell him 2" is the standard for this procedure and ask what did he expect. He wanted it 5"-6" thick so the beds would be way above the lawn. We ended up spreading it that thick but had to charge him more, he understood.
08-30-2005, 09:21 PM
4" or more depending on the type of mulch I am useing.
3" is not enough to keep weeds from growing in my area anyway.As long as the weed seeds can't get light they can't germinate and grow.
08-30-2005, 11:41 PM
we skim on the mulch on exixting beds we go thin I always say to the help "thin to win" over time it builds up then they want me to refurbish the beds and that blows!
08-31-2005, 08:52 AM
proper mulch placement isn't just about how thick or how much mulch used--but more importantly how and where you mulch. Be careful not to bury the crowns of your plants nor mound it excessively around the root zone. Too much mulch too close to the plant is the same thing as planting too deep.
I have found that thick layers of mulch tend to mat down, it may inhibit weeds, but it also competes for nitrogen; doesn't allow water to penetrate into the root zone and goes anaerobic very quickly, keeping vital oxygen from the root zone as well.
Better to go with thin layers more frequently and always work the soil beforehand, breaking up any matted clogs of mulch, unbury any crowns, aerate the soil--the roots will love it.
Remember thick mulch placement encourages high surface roots, which can lead to girdling roots; and thick mulch can also act as a sponge in times of drought sucking up irrigation water and what rain does fall keeping it away from thirsty roots.
I'm in this for plant care: which means caring for the plants, not always what the client thinks looks good. sometimes a little education goes a long way. sometimes not. I focus on the plant not the aesthetics. with healthy plants--the aesthetics will come.
08-31-2005, 10:58 AM
Usually 1.5 - 2", most customers aren't willing to pay the extra to lay it thicker thou some do.
08-31-2005, 11:44 AM
Well sir I don't agree with some of your statements.One statement is" thick mulch encourages high surface roots and can lead to girdling roots".If you have properly prepared your planting holes and areas ,and taken care of any girdling roots when planting then that will not happen.It is common knowlage that applying mulch around root zones of plants is not beneficial to trees and shrubs,
But you will find it IS better than allowing rain to pound the already compacted soil and run off
,and when installing mulch to an existing landscape you will find most trees have had soil erroded away from their root zones for years and then that soil has become compacted and hard.
So rain is not penetrating but simply running off.I have not seen it sucking up the moisture from plants but actually becoming soaked with it and keeping root zones moist in drought conditions.I ought to know about drought conditions I live in Ca.This is our 6th yr of drought and before the last good winter we had a 7 year drought.
I do not install thick mulches around tree's but what a thick mulch to you may not be for me.
To me the first inch I concider gone in 6 months to a year so the 1st- 1"does not even count to me.
leaving one inch if your putting down 2",........... the bottom inch now starts to deteriorate...
leaving you with one deteriorating inch and one or two good stable inches on top when putting down 3 or 4 inches.
we're with topsites at 1.5-2" done twice a year.
$24 per quarter-hour, includes mulch, weed control granules, onload to truck/apparatus and offload into their beds.
the 3-4" is good for hillsides, though.
we agree sheesh, our oak trees here CAUSE drought!
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