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Mulch on trees

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by vale of paradise, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. vale of paradise

    vale of paradise LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Was out at a property that the mulch has been mounded over time....... I like the mound look esthetically but is it healthy for the tree to have a foot + high of mulch ?

    Any feedback on this would be helpful.

    Thank you .......L
  2. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,257

    Simple answer no. It can cause severe problems down the road for the tree.
  3. Plant Buyer 83

    Plant Buyer 83 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 176

    Ya - big negative on "mulch volcano's". 2-4" only - no more.

    Few Reasons:

    - Continuous moisture on the trunk will cause cankers and splits allowing disease and pests to attack!

    - Excess moisture in the root zone will stress the plant and cause root rot or again other diseases!

    - Thick blankets of mulch can become matted and actually PREVENT water, fert, and air (don't suffocate you tree - they need to breath too!) from getting to the roots!

    - Rodents love nesting in thick mulch - sometimes gnawing on your tree's bark.
  4. PerfectEarth

    PerfectEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,734

    All good points PlantBuyer, but I would say 2-4 inches at the base of a trunk is STILL too much! I never put any hardwood around the base of any tree trunk- right up to it and then taper it up and away... Still, amazing how often you see this simple, basic rule of landscaping ignored! What's worse is when guys mound it up underneath shrubs and smaller items. Makes me ill...:nono:
  5. Green Man Enviroscaping

    Green Man Enviroscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    Seems a lot of folks are mulch vulcanologists.

    I'll second (or third, if I spend too much time typing this!) the advise to taper off the mulch around trees. It shouldn't touch the trunk. Four inches is good coverage once you're out of contact with the plant itself.
  6. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,219

    not a mound of sorts but we have a slight mound shape around our trees
  7. JimmyStew

    JimmyStew LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 367

    I would second (or third or...) what the others have said, with one divergence. Is the mound made of mulch or soil? I've seen situations where trees have been planted several inches or more above grade, and then had soil mounded up around the root ball. Sort of a "mini-berm". Not a look I prefer but some may like it. If this is the case, there isn't necessarily a problem, unless the you are in a colder climate and the tree roots won't have enough insulation during the winter. The best way to determine is to move any soil or mulch away from the trunk of the tree until you find the root flare - the part of the trunk where it starts to widen out. You should never have any soil or mulch covering this part of the tree.
  8. Green Man Enviroscaping

    Green Man Enviroscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    Good points on planting above grade.

    Very recently, I've run into a case where they planted above grade because the tree liked it on the dry side and the ground was saturated. This idea doesn't sit well with me because a couple of things could happen:

    1) the tree isn't held fast in the light and fluffy soil mound
    2) the tree is going to eventually get roots down into that saturated soil where it isn't happy (unless #1 goes catastrophic first!)

    At that point, you're probably planting the wrong tree for that area.
  9. vale of paradise

    vale of paradise LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Wanted to thank everyone for their opinion for the mulch around the trees. I thought there was too much around them but I just wanted to check some other pro's. Do some companies do it because they think it looks good? My other thought of why they would make it so high is to cover the suckers at the bottom.

    Love everyones input......... Thanks again.
  10. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    I usually see mulch volcanoes created by low ball companies. They generally don't have any employees who know what they are doing or why they are doing it. They're just material handlers. They don't have the knowledge to educate the customer about the right way to apply mulch.

    Harry Homeowner sees the mulch volcanoes around the trees at the mall and thinks that is how you are supposed to mulch so he goes home and does it to his trees. It's a never ending cycle.

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