Spring is finally here and both home and commercial properties are starting to come alive. You can see daffodils blooming, grass growing and trees showing signs of life with new growth on every branch. Something that you also start to see this time of year is mulch in flower beds and around the bases of trees. Mulch is a material, such as decaying leaves, bark, or compost, that is spread around or over a plant or tree to enrich or insulate the soil. This added nutrient is essential to assist in the growing process. However, over mulching is a serious and common problem through Northern Virginia; especially around the base of trees. Have you walked through your neighborhood or around your office complex only to see mulch piled up around the base of trees, entirely covering the roots? This is known as a mulch volcano and what this is doing is chocking the life out of the tree. When you walk through the woods, you can see the root flare as the soil and base of the tree meet. The tree is growing, and does not have piles of compost surrounding the roots. The roots of the tree take nutrients and chemicals out of the soil and use them to produce what they need for the tree's growth, development, and repair. With a mulch volcano, this process is interrupted at the very least and can cause “suffocation” of the living tree. Sometimes you still end up with trees that have piles of mulch around them. If over-mulching has been going on for a long time; the roots begin to grow in this mulch layer and it becomes more difficult over time to get these piles down.
Having been in the landscaping industry for over 25 years, it never ceases to amaze me how companies that call themselves "professionals" still cannot mulch properly. If you see piles of mulch, also known as "mulch volcanoes" you should question the knowledge of those individuals, their training etc. Over mulching can cause some serious long term problems to your landscape, especially trees. As a point of reference, if you ever walk into the woods and look at the trees naturally growing there you can usually see their root flare right as the soil and base of the tree meet. Mulch piled high around the trunk of the tree literally can choke the life out of the tree, as you can see in the picture up above. This is one of my "pet peeves" as a professional. Click here for information on proper mulching by Diane Relf from the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. Great insight on the effects from over-mulching. I believe it is also available in Spanish. Sometimes you still end up with trees that have piles of mulch around them. If over-mulching has been going on for a long time; the roots begin to grow in this mulch layer and it becomes more difficult over time to get these piles down. In extreme cases you may need to cut out some of the actual roots away from the tree. This is not something that just anyone should do and it may not be worth doing as you can cause more harm to the tree than good. That is why the initial planting of trees and the relationship of the root flare to the existing grade is so critical. If you are not sure if your trees
Mulching your landscape is one of the least expensive yet most effective ways to renew the look of your landscaping. If you are looking for that POP in your landscaping without paying big bucks on a new landscape, this is the route to take. Mulch is an essential part of spring landscaping practices. Mulch is a protective material placed over soil to help retain moisture and improve the overall soil conditions. When properly applied, this application is very beneficial to plants, trees and shrubs. Mulch also gives your landscape a well-polished maintained appearance. When improperly applied, mulch can do the reverse causing harm to plants instead of providing protection. Mulch is available in different colors, and levels of commercial forms. Sunrise only uses Premium dark brown dyed mulch. The benefits of using premium dark brown dyed mulch are the following: dyed mulch will hold its color more than twice as long as regular mulch, by mid-summer most mulch turns gray, and forms a hard crust on the top layer on beds, but our mulch will look fresh all season long. BENEFITS OF MULCH •Protection – Layers around trees and shrubs can help prevent damage from lawn equipment (such as weed whackers or lawn mowers). •Better Moisture – Mulching helps retain moisture in the soil, which leads to less evaporation of water from the soil. This ensures your plants are kept hydrated longer and reduces the chance of them drying out. •Weed Control – Prevents weed germination and growth. •Improved Water Flow – Improved aeration, structure and drainage •Landscape Health – Protection from specific diseases, while also improving the soil fertility. •Temperature Control – Temperature regulation of your soil by cooling in the summer and warming