It’s time to get outside again. Florida’s short winter is coming to a warm end, and your yard may need some work. One of the first things that many homeowners go for this time of year is mulch. Every yard looks great with some fresh mulch, but there is something to watch out; the dreaded mulch volcano.
We’re not talking about a giant tourist creation in Orlando; we’ve seen mulch volcanos across central Florida. This happens when people pile so much mulch around a tree trunk that it resembles a small Mount Saint Helen’s.
Many believe they are doing their tree a favor by covering it with eight to twelve inches of mulch; what weed could get through that? But, in reality, all those small chunks of wood are actually choking your tree.
Mulch is meant to protect your tree by stabilizing the soil temperature, preventing weed growth, and keeping the soil moist. However, as with just about anything, you can have too much of a good thing.
In a mulch volcano the wood chips get hot; so warm that they begin to rot, which creates a breeding ground for insects and disease. All that mulch may also cause the tree to start growing secondary roots right in the mulch pile and not into the soil. Those roots can suffocate the main roots. And there are also water concerns. Mulch can act like a sponge and soak up the water that your tree needs.
Magnificent mulching practices
Let’s level all mulch volcanos this spring. Before you start, it’s best to remove old mulch and not just cover it with fresh stuff. When laying mulch at the base of the tree, keep the depth between two and four inches and then keep all the chips six inches away from the trunk. When you're done, it should look like a donut. And who doesn’t like donuts?
Mulching seems like a simple task, but a mistake could cost you your favorite trees and plants. If you’re looking to spruce up your yard this season, give us a call we would love to help. And let’s all remember when it comes to mulch, volcanoes are bad, and donuts are good.