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Mounding mulch around trees

Rella Jul 16, 2011 07:09 PM

Years ago I never saw a tree mounded with mulch around the bottom trunk. It was my understanding that when planting a tree (or even a shrub) one should leave about a 6" space below the tree to make sure that when watering the tree, that there would be a basin where the water could collect.

What is the reason for mounding up to a foot high or more of mulch around a new tree trunk for up to perhaps 5-10 years.

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  1. d
    dfrostnh RE: Rella Jul 17, 2011 04:33 AM

    A recent local garden writer wrote that this is very harmful to trees. He called them mulch volcanos. I believe it also provides nice living space for critters who then eat the bark. Many years ago my parents bought a new house in a brand new sub-division. The builder re-graded the yard so less of the foundation showed. All the trees started dying. My parents were told to make a well around each tree.

    1. Gio RE: Rella Jul 17, 2011 05:15 AM

      Trees and shrubs should be mulched wide but not deep, usually 3 inches is ideal. Do not bank the mulch against the trunk. Pull it back several inches. This prevents the attack of the weed wacker or the dreaded lawn mower blight... Seriously, there are many horticultural benefits from proper mulching.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gio
        Eldon Kreider RE: Gio Jul 17, 2011 10:58 AM

        Mulching against the trunk also promotes bark rotting, which can provide entry for insects and micro organisms and in extreme cases prevent water and nutrients from reaching the leaves. Proper mulching is very beneficial. Volcano mulching can kill a tree slowly.

        The reason for volcano mulching is ignorance combined with monkey see monkey do mentality

        1. re: Eldon Kreider
          Rella RE: Eldon Kreider Jul 17, 2011 11:03 AM

          Thanks everyone for the admonitions. No volcano mulching here.

      2. l
        lynncameron RE: Rella Jul 23, 2011 12:03 PM

        Yes to everyone's advice. Also I found these mulch mats at Lowes recently and put them around a few trees. At first it looks pretty artificial but after a couple of months the edges soften and it looks quite natural. They also make big mats and edging material. Oh, and mowing is a total breeze.


        1 Reply
        1. re: lynncameron
          alkapal RE: lynncameron Aug 5, 2011 04:36 PM

          i cracked up with this mat: http://henta-corporation.amazonwebsto...

          you've gotta think "only in texas!" LOL

        2. s
          Shazam RE: Rella Jul 24, 2011 10:20 PM

          Oh if it were only that simple...


          1. CCSPRINGS RE: Rella Aug 8, 2011 03:39 AM

            Planting a tree at the incorrect depth is a common error by homeowners and landscapers alike. Too much mulch will compound the problem. No volcanoes, but rather a saucer to hold water, with nothing touching the trunk.

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