- Published on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 22:32
Number Four: Piling mulch too high around tree trunks
It may look great, but it effectively blocks rainfall from reaching young root systems, thereby causing a "mulch drought". Rain runoff will flow right off the mulch, or saturate it (depending on your mix), shielding soil and root systems from rain, and increasing risk of fungal invasion. Fungi around the trunk result in trunk flare disorder, which is characterized by early leaf discoloration and fall, dying of upper crown branches, and ultimately, death of the tree. Additionally, too much mulch can result in roots growing around the trunk and choking it out. In short, there's no need to pile mulch high around tree trunks – spread it out evenly and not too high, and your trees and the soil around them will be better off for it.
Number Three: Too much mulch
Just like in number four, the use of too much mulch can have a stifling effect – not just for trees. Piling mulch more than four inches high encourages mold and fungus growth, as the ground cannot absorb rainwater. Instead, rain saturates the mulch layer, often causing an inconvenient mess. Be safe with about two to three inches, and allow your lawn and garden soil to breathe properly.
Number Two: Spreading mulch too close to house
This mistake actually encourages pests like termites to enter your home, especially if bark chips or other wood ingredient is used. Termites, of course, love wood, so keep your mulch border at a minimum of three inches from your home – preferably closer to twelve inches if possible. No need to invite unwanted pests in!
Number One: Assumption that "all mulch is the same"
This is perhaps the most common mistake homeowners can make when deciding to use mulch, and the area of most debate among horticulturists and agricultural experts. Mulch mixes vary widely, from what's referred to as "hamburger helper" by some, as it can include recycled yard waste, crumb rubber, dyed old lumber and other wood products, to 100% organic bark mulch.
Know what you are getting and give your lawn and garden the good stuff, for the best results!