Removing Old Bark Mulch?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by NelsonLandworks, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. NelsonLandworks

    NelsonLandworks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 131

    A client wanted us to remove the old bark mulch from previous years today. He actually make fun of us for saying that mulch breaks down, so you can keep putting new mulch on top, were we wrong?

    The mulch we use is a very black mulch. In the spring when you go out and turn the mulch over and 90% of it is broken down.

    But anyways, we took the old mulch off, which was about 4 years old, and it was just pure mold. So we're going to replace it with the black mulch we usually use.

    Does all mulch need to be removed after a few years?

  2. Q-Team Inc

    Q-Team Inc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 120

    If I do work on an existing bed where there is a lot of mulch I will take off roughly 2" and put down 1". Or take away double of what you are putting down if possible.

    My personal opinion is take away if possible. Yes it helps hold moisture, helps keep weeds down but you get that mold that develops. I don't see how that can be any good. Also make sure you create "rings" around everything. Especially trees.
  3. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    What do you think breaks down the old mulch?
    The mold does.It's just doing what comes natural.Turning organic matter into soil.So you were correct in telling the client no need to remove.

    If the beds have had wood mulch breaking down on it for a few years then you need to add nitrogen cuz the wood burns up the nitrogen in the soil as it breaks down,thats if the beds are planted.
  4. sildoc

    sildoc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,925

    Use my mini tiller and till it in place a 3-4" layer of new mulch down. Never a dissatisfied customer. Now if they want me to remove it and pay what I want then heck I am more than willing to do so.
  5. neighborguy

    neighborguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    the black mulch that you are laying down, is it being called anything similar to "Enviromulch"? If it is then the product that you are laying down is not nearly as biodegradable as what you are pulling out. The enviromulch is shredded up pallets that have been dyed various colors. I personally prefer to put down that shredded harwood bark mulch.

    sheshovel: as the mulch is breaking down it reduces the nitrogen in the existing soil. After it is broken down however it returns that nitrogen to the soil. At least that was what I was taught in my landscape/hort classes.
  6. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    sure mulch breaks down, and it all depends on how many inches you put down each year, but many of our contracts dictate we must remove excessive amounts of mulch build up before we put new mulch down. this year ive bid on a number of large accounts, and most of them have this clause in the contracts now. ive seen a few places that look ridiculous, especially tree rings. they just keep adding and adding mulch until the mulch is 3-6 inches directly against the bark of the tree........its not healthy to have the mulch against the trunk.
  7. NelsonLandworks

    NelsonLandworks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 131

    Yeah I've seen that a lot. If they didn't pull the extra mulch off the garden beds, I would hope they would do at least around the trees

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