Sunday, 24 February 2013

Mulch Volcanoes

pic from google and 

I had never seen these till I moved to the island...

Volcanoes of mulch around the base of evergreens, mostly, and other large trees.

Am not sure what folks are thinking when they pile up the bark mulch around the base of the trees? What is it that they think they are accomplishing?

Bark mulch should be used in gardens, it should be about 3 to 6 inches deep.
Best to use is the smaller pieces, not the chunks, as the chunks are for looks only but serve no other purpose, and even better yet is the well composted shredded bark.
This mulch should be topped up every two to three years, as it decomposes in the garden.

Bark mulch helps to retain moisture in the bed, acts as a weed barrier, and looks nice and tidy and clean.
It also helps to keep the water from splashing up onto the foliage of the plants, thus avoiding issues with mildews, rust, black spot and other fungal issues.
Is a very important part of your garden.
You need to leave a 4 to 6 inch ring around the base of the plant that is not mulched.
This allows good air flow and keeps the moisture away from the base of your tree or crown of your plant but covers the feeder roots.

If the mulch is covering or touching the crown/stem/base of the plant, it will actually cause root rot and stem rot. It also invites little rodents that burrow thorough the mulch, right up to the base of the plant or tree where they eat the bark or stem, and kill the plant.
Those huge volcanoes of mulch are holding in moisture, oh yes, they are rotting away the base of your tree, and may cause huge issues if not caught in time.

Best case scenario, you notice that the foliage is looking limp or that your evergreen is looking more yellow or limey than dark green. You probably try to revive it by adding more water, which of course, is just going to make matters worse. Removing the mulch, pulling it away from the base of the tree, at least 6 inches away, or if it is a large tree, even a foot or two away from the stem, will help the soil to start drying out. If caught in time, this step will save the tree from demise.

Worst case scenario, you do not notice in time, or you keep adding water, not thinking to remove the mulch, thereby adding to the root rot and stem rot of your tree. By the time you think to check, it has eaten away and compromised the tree so much that it is no longer safe to keep the tree as it may fall on your house, car, or family.

No more mulch volcanoes please!
They are harming your tree!
Please go outside and remove any mulch from the bases and crowns of all your perennials, shrubs and trees while you do your yard clean up this spring, or late winter.

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