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mulch cause fungus??

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by bobbygedd, May 3, 2001.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    hi folks, i recently put in about 8 yards of mulch for a customer in beds and around trees, the customer called and said that the mulch around the trees will cause fungus on the trees. i never heard of this or have ever had a problem with it. any input??? . thanks
  2. lawnboykb

    lawnboykb LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    I have never heard of that....I do get fungus under the mulch. Did you leave a space around the tree like a donut?
  3. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    no, was i supposed to? i have done this many times without a problem, but am i supposed to leave a "doghnut" around it?can this kill the tree? i pile the mulch like 6 inches deep around the tree
  4. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    Big mound of mulch around base of a tree is one of the worst things to do to trees. When a tree starts to grow, there is a point on the trunk that is above ground, and just below it is underground. At this point the tree develops bark to protect the tree trunk above ground, mostly from mechanical wounding, insects, airborne diseases, etc., and this bark lives in the air. Underground the tree must cope with soil, moisture, and other underground influences, so the underground parts of the tree develop totally differently from the above ground parts.

    Now someone dumps 6" to 12" of mulch against the trunk: this part of the tree supposed to be in air is now underground. So what happens? Right, the bark starts to rot, just like anything else in nature would when buried, whether it is dead or alive. The only things that survive underground are those which have evolved to live there. Just put your mulch 2" above the soil interface line of a tree trunk, and you are causing stress on the tree. If you have to mulch a tree ring, you should excavate soil or old mulch about 2" down, then add 2" mulch, so you retain the same soil line on the trunk.

    Another problem with mulched tree rings is that this practice causes girdling roots. The decay of the mulch gives an area of high nutrient content, drawing roots to grow back toward the tree, and around the trunk. It can start as a small root, but over time a root the size of your little finger will grow to the size of your thigh. Girdling roots cause decline and death of a tree, because the eventual constriction of the cambium layer restricts the water and nutrient uptake to the leaves.
  5. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    sounds like u know your stuff, thanks alot , i will definitly do things a little different now

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