Ready to mulch?
This year as you put your mulch around the trees take a little extra time to not pile the mulch higher than one inch or less. The 6 to 8 inches high piled up like a volcano is not the correct way to mulch. The industry as given a name to this practice: volcano mulching.
Visualize the forest floor. Do you see big piles of mulch packed around the trees?
You’re right, the trees in the forest do not have mulch piled high upon the trunk of the tree.
Leaving soil or mulch piled around the trunk provides an environment for insects and fungi to live under the bark of a tree. The trunk also needs to breath. When the mulch is layered to high on the trunk the bark becomes wet and rotting which begins to destroy the cambium layer of the tree. Excessive mulch gives critters such as mice and voles a place to live. As we know the critters will eat or chew into the bark therefore cutting the source of nutrients and water.
Mulching does control weeds. It provides cover for the soil web and holds moisture longer which is all beneficial to the soil. But moisture isn’t good for the base or trunk of tree. Mulch piled on top of the root ball also causes the roots to grow up into the mulch. This leads to root girdling.
According to the University of Florida these issues have become more prevalent in the last 10 to 15 years.
What to do?
The recommendation is to lightly sprinkle mulch on the root ball area of the tree after that point you can add more mulch.
Ultimately you should have mulch out to the drip line.
Always check periodically through the years to insure mulch as not piled into a volcano.
This practice goes the same for shrubs.
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For more gardening advice listen to In the Garden with Vador and Kenneth live on AM600 WREC every Saturday morning 6am to 8am