A common landscaping mistake homeowners make is applying too much mulch around trees.
With its ability to retain moisture and discourage weed growth, mulch is a useful landscaping tool that can enhance your home’s curb appeal. Whether hardwood or softwood, though, you should follow the “less is more” approach when using it around trees.
If you apply too much mulch around a tree, you may notice one or more of the following problems.
Fungal disease can strike any tree, regardless of whether it’s surrounded by mulch. However, applying a thick layer of mulch around the trunk of a tree will make it more susceptible to fungal disease.
The problem with excessive mulch is that it creates a dark, damp and nutrient-rich environment in which fungi can thrive. As the fungi thrives in the mulch, it may infect the tree with a disease.
Some fungal diseases are minor, but others can cause significant stress or even death.
Another reason you shouldn’t use too much mulch around trees is because it can cause root rot. Even if a tree is green and otherwise healthy, it may suffer from root rot if it’s surrounded with too much mulch.
Mulch can cause root rot in several ways. First, it restricts the roots of oxygen, which of course is needed for proper health and growth. Second, excess mulch traps moisture, allowing rot-causing microorganisms to thrive.
For a healthy root system, you must avoid using too much mulch around trees.
Insects are naturally attracted to mulch, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that using too much around a tree will leave the tree vulnerable to pests.
If you apply too much mulch around the trunk of a tree, you may notice pests boring holes into or even eating the tree.
How Much Mulch Should I Use?
To protect against fungal disease, root rot and pests, you must avoid using too much mulch. You can still apply mulch around the trunk of a tree, but you should keep it to a minimum.
A good rule of thumb is thumb is to keep the mulch layer less than 2 inches deep. At this depth, it shouldn’t have an adverse impact on the tree’s health. Rather, it will provide just enough coverage to discourage weed growth while improving the aesthetics of your landscape in the process.
The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.
If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or
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