Common Mulching Mistakes

When it comes to ensuring your commercial property looks its best, mulching can make a huge difference. However, what you may not realize is that mulch provides benefits beyond just aesthetic appeal. For one, mulch can create a barrier that helps lock in moisture. It also helps insulate your plants’ root system, retaining soil heat and providing vital root protection when temperatures drop. Of course, mulch can also play a vital role in weed suppression by blocking weeds’ access to sunlight. 

But in order to gain all of these benefits, proper mulching is key. There are a number of mulching mistakes that can negatively impact your results. However, a lot of people are surprised to learn that there is a wrong way to mulch. 

Here are some poor mulching practices that need to be stopped before they cause harm.

Over- or Under-Mulching

If you want to gain the full benefits of mulch, you need to pay attention to the amount that’s put down. This is a detail that is commonly overlooked—but is important to your overall success (or failure).

That’s because both over-mulching or under-mulching can defeat the purpose of mulching in the first place. It can also ultimately lead to bigger problems. For instance, too much mulch can turn your soil soggy by allowing it to retain an excessive amount of water. This can leave plants waterlogged and susceptible to disease concerns. It could also drown the roots and lead to their poor performance. 

On the flipside, too little mulch isn’t very helpful as aggressive weeds can bust right through. A thin layer of mulch will also fail to act as an effective insulator. 

The exact amount of mulch your plant beds need will depend on your specific site and its conditions but it’s usually somewhere in the two to three-inch range. This is the sweet spot for mulch.

Creating Mulch Volcanoes

Another common mulching mistake is the creation of “mulch volcanoes” when forming mulched tree rings. This is when mulch is piled up against the tree itself. You probably see these so often that you may think this is the proper way to mulch a tree. In reality, this practice can create problems. Mulch up against the trunk can actually cause bark rot due to trapped moisture. It can even make the tree increasingly likely to succumb to tree insect and disease problems.

The correct way to mulch around trees is to create a “donut,”

Using Poor-Quality Mulch

The mulch itself can also be problematic. 

A lot of people assume that “mulch is mulch.” In reality, the quality can vary dramatically. There are plenty of subpar mulches that are filled with weed seeds and will introduce unwanted growth into your plant beds. Even worse, some mulches are actually created from grinding up old 2×4’s and other “junk wood,” such as pallets or rotted, un-useable wood. This type of low-quality mulch can be filled with pieces of plastic or even screws and nails!

Lack of Professional Appeal

Finally, it’s also important to think about the overall “look” when mulch is installed. You can definitely tell the difference between a plant bed that was professionally mulched with care—and one that was a rush job. The latter is going to look sloppy and negatively impact your overall curb appeal.

Unfortunately, even some pros do a rush job. All they care about is getting the mulch down quickly and moving on to the next job. Sadly, some landscape professionals even make mistakes like over- or under-mulching and creating mulch volcanoes. They’re just not that invested in doing the job the right way.

But when you hire a professional, you ought to be able to feel confident they’re going to do the job right. After all, you’re investing in professional services for the very reason that you don’t want to have worries about your property.

At Carruther’s Landscape Management, we can offer that peace of mind. You can rest assured that when we perform your mulching services, they’ll be done right. That means getting the best results and all the benefits.

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