MUCH TOO MUCH MULCH

Did you know it is possible to shorten the lifespan of a tree by applying too much mulch? As the weather finally warms the race is on to spread mulch to suppress weeds and retain moisture for the drier months to come. The conventional (not so green) rule of thumb is the 'more is better' approach however that can cause  more harm than good in the landscape.  

Mulch volcanoes kill trees

Mulch volcanoes kill trees

Imagine that you are wearing a turtleneck in the hottest months of summer? While trees may not wear clothes they have a fundamental structure that does not thrive when imposed upon. When mulch is applied above the trunk flare where the trunk meets the ground, it can signal cells in the trunk to send new roots to stabilize the tree.  Unfortunately, those roots often are misguided and circle the trunk slowly creating a noose around the base of the tree. Eventually the tree shows signs of stress and often at that time it is too late to save the tree.  Better mulching practices can go a long way to supporting healthy growth while still suppressing weeds and retaining moisture in your landscape.

 For more information:

http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/factsheets/mulch/toomuch.html