When you return from the local garden center with bags of mulch this spring, be careful how you spread that mulch around your trees. Improper mulching can do more harm than good.
“Volcano mulching”, where mulch is piled up around the tree trunk, is common in commercial landscapes and causes many problems for trees. Don’t do this at home! The trunk of the tree was not meant to be covered and piling mulch up around the trunk tree is an invitation for decay and damage.
- Mulch should be spread 2-4 inches deep around the tree.
- Mulch to the drip line, if possible. The drip line is at the tips of the branches.
- Do not allow mulch to contact the trunk of the tree. The mulch should be shaped like a donut with the tree in the hole in the middle.
- Organic mulches (as opposed to stones) are best. In addition to moisture retention, organic mulch is cooler in summer and will improve the soil as it decomposes.