Over-mulching can kill your trees!
I love the look and smell of fresh mulch. One of my favorite parts of spring is when people begin to mulch their yards. It’s an unofficial beginning of spring – people are out in their yards looking to beautify them for the upcoming growing season. However, many people don’t realize that they can kill their trees with mulch.
Tree roots and root flares (the trunk spread at the base of tree) exchange air. When a tree is mulched too heavily or a new tree is planted too deeply, the roots of the plants are deprived of oxygen, effectively smothering them. A tree with limited air access to its roots may show signs of stress within a few weeks or even die within several years. Not only are the roots deprived of air, but noxious gas and toxins build up, further damaging the tree. Sugar Maple, Beech, Dogwood, Oak, Tulip, Spruce, and Pine trees are most easily damaged by excessive mulch or grade changes.
Never add significant amounts of soil or mulch around tree trunks. The rule of thumb is to keep mulch and soil below the area of the trunk flare. If your trees are now over-mulched, help them ‘breathe’ by lowering the depth of the mulch below the root flare.
Deepening on the size of your yard, mulching can be a very rewarding experience. Have a few yards of mulched dropped off, grab a wheel barrel and some shovels, and commence the mulching. It is an easy, and relatively inexpensive way to spruce up your landscape. If you have any questions about mulching, or any other landscape beautification methods, please feel free to ask one of our landscape professionals.