Mulching does for suburban landscapes what a forest does naturally. Each year at the change of season, leaves fall to the ground and provide a protective covering for tree roots. As the leaves and other cast off tree parts decompose, they nourish the soil with organic matter. That’s why mulching is on our basic garden maintenance task list. We are providing nourishment and protection for the trees and planting beds on your property.
Benefits of Mulching
- discourages weed growth
- moderates soil temperature
- adds essential nutrients
- conserves moisture around roots
- prevents compaction at the base of trees
- reduces wind borne soil erosion
Our garden maintenance crews apply organic mulches to your trees and beds. Organics include wood chips, pine needles, bark, cocoa hulls, leaves, or compost mixes. Organic mulches decompose in the landscape at different rates depending on the material and climate. As mulches decompose, they have to be replenished. This decomposition process is one of the key benefits of mulch as it does much to improve soil quality and fertility. So, we think the ongoing maintenance is worth the investment.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Sometimes do-it-yourselfers will put mulch around the trunk of a tree and cover the root flare, but this part of the tree must to be exposed to air. Mulch piled against the trunk can cause excess heat and moisture to build up, causing rot.
As beneficial as mulch is, too much can be harmful. The generally recommended mulching depth is 2 to 4 inches.
Effects of Incorrect Mulching
- An overly thick layer of mulch can cause excess moisture in the root zone and lead to root rot
- Thick blankets of fine mulch can prevent air and water from reaching the roots
- Piling mulch against the trunk or stems of plants suffocates them and puts stress on stem tissues
- Stressed plants signal an open invitation to insect and disease infestation
Our garden maintenance specialists maintain 2 to 4 inches of mulch per area providing the soil drains well. If there are drainage issues, we go easy on the mulch. We also rake old mulch to break up any compressed layers and to aerate before topping off with fresh mulch each season.
We cannot stress enough that over mulching is detrimental to the health of your plants. Most of the fine, nutrient absorbing roots are within inches of the soil surface. These roots are essential for taking up water and minerals. And they must have oxygen to thrive. Even a thin layer of mulch can improve the soil structure, oxygen levels, temperature, and moisture content where these roots grow. So don’t let your grounds maintenance people overdo it.
If you are not sure whether your trees and planting beds are being serviced properly with the right types and right amounts of mulching material, please schedule an appointment with one of our garden managers to visit your property.
Perhaps you are wondering how to bring out the fullest expression in your landscape and gardens. Our eBook: Choosing the Right Kind of Landscape Maintenance Firm, is full of valuable information to help you understand the fundamental differences between landscape maintenance companies.