The Wrong Way to Mulch Trees
Posted: February 8, 2012
For the past ten years many professional landscapers have been incorrectly mounding up soil and heavy layers of mulch around the base of deciduous and evergreen trees. According to Edward Flory, Penn State Extension Horticultural Assistant, this practice seems to be catching on with more landscapers but it is a practice that is a waste of money and harmful to the tree. Landscapers should know better since the tree trunk should always be above ground to where the root flares out at the soil line. Soil or mulch around the trunk encourages rodents and disease damage that can kill the tree. Also roots need to breathe and heavy mulch inhibits oxygen from getting to the roots.
How should the tree be properly mulched?
- Keep mulch and dirt at least 3-4 inches away from the tree trunk.
- Mulch out to the tree's drip line which is where the furthest branches from the tree end.
- Fine-textured mulch should not be more than 2 inches deep and coarse-textured mulch should not be more than 4 inches deep.
- If putting on new mulch always fluff up the mulch layer before adding new mulch. The entire mulch layer should not exceed 2-4 inches.
By following these simple practices you will continue to have happy and healthy trees.
For more information or for horticultural information, Contact Ed Flory at Penn State Extension, 570-421-6430.