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Amount of Mulch

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by lawntennis, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. lawntennis

    lawntennis LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 425

    You always here about 3" of mulch. Do you ever cut that back if they have years of "mulch build-up?
  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Sometime if the situation presents itself.

    I have on property that has had two mulch applications, so this year I went ahead and tilled all the mulch to clean up the look of it without having to add any. If there is too much in one spot, then I move it to areas with too little. This helps me to stretch out the mulch another 3-6 months. This is hardwood mulch that doesn't decompose too fast, and the mulch under the top layer tends to hold it's color.

    If I do another application, I'll have to remove about 50% percent of it so it's not too deep.

    Also, you have to take into consideration the compaction of mulch. Sometimes 3 inches of mulch will compact down by half.

    I guess it all comes down to the situation.
  3. T&J Landscaping

    T&J Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 199

    if u got so much mulch on from the past yrs,, alsways godo to take sum off the top to lay new fresh mulch, make it look nice not sloppy ,
  4. weasel

    weasel LawnSite Member
    from 5
    Messages: 195

    Absolutely ,too much build up can harm plants
  5. scagwildcat

    scagwildcat LawnSite Senior Member
    from nw. ct.
    Messages: 507

    i always laugh when i see people puttting 10 inches of mulch around a nice $500 tree!
  6. betmr

    betmr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,663

    Yeah! We call them Jersey Volcanoes around here. I guess they sell more mulch that way. I don't think they ever heard of CROWN ROT.
  7. TPS

    TPS LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 363

    I always thought 3-4" meant total, not each year. So if you already have 3", remove a little and add a fresh layer. If there is no mulch, add the full 3".
  8. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,341

    Its called a "top out".
  9. glfredrick

    glfredrick LawnSite Member
    Messages: 71

    When I came in as Grounds Manager for our campus, the mulch was 12 inches or over on most beds from years of topping out.

    We've spend the past 2 years cutting back that amount, reducing the height of beds (which has caused untold problems with raising tree roots) and refreshing the underlying soil, which has grown quite compacted and infertile from all that dead weight on top.

    We're also getting a ton of spore problems and our beds are covered with oozing fungus, not to mention some issues with termites! I prefer less than 3" of total mulch cover, depending on the type of mulch. Types like pine straw or shredded cypress can stand a deeper layer. Bark mulch, like the Indiana Bark that we get from Earth First should probably be closer to an inch or two at most.
  10. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,341

    A proper mulch level keeps the plants healthy. 3'' is perfect. 2'' under the plants no more.

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