Spring is a wonderful season. Flowers are blooming, trees are lush green, and there is a strange calm in the environment, but spring also brings mulch, a lot of mulch. Mulch comes in all sorts of textures, colors, and materials, and it offers countless benefits to the landscape as well. The sight of new mulch also changes the visual appearance of the landscape as well. Apart from its aesthetic benefits, mulch also acts as an effective moisture retainer, weed control and helps keep soil temperatures stable.
Though the benefits are immense, there is no such thing as completely harmless. It is commonly said, “too much of everything is bad,” and the same rings true for mulch. Excess buildup of mulch can impact the landscape in more than one way, and here we will discuss some of the negative impacts that too much mulch can have.
Problems with Excess Mulch
Suffocation – Roots of plants and trees need water and air to grow and expand. Excessive mulch restricts the airflow of the soil and can cause roots to suffocate, which in turn leads to damage.
Crown and Root Rot – Excessive mulch causes water retention, which keeps the soil to stay wet and soggy and causes damage to plants and other vegetation.
Bark Damage – Mulch that pushes against the tree trunks becomes a fertile ground for insects to borrow and spread disease, which is very harmful to the overall health of the trees.
Root and Foliage Burn – Excessive mulch can create an insulation layer at the roots of plants and trees and raises soil temperatures, disturbing the natural cycle of plant growth.
How Much Mulch is Too Much?
A good rule of thumb is to maintain a 2-3 inch covering over the soil when it comes to mulch. Most commonly used materials include wood, rubber, and stone. Stone and rubber are much easier to measure and stay consistent in depth all year round, but the wood tends to break down. Since our goal is to keep no more than 3 inches of mulch, it is best to remove any faded or matted down mulch. This worn-out upper layer is not very attractive and sometimes becomes insulting and doesn’t allow water to penetrate.
Reversing the Damage from Over Mulching
When you have too much mulch, you have to employ a two-part approach to stop any damages. First, you need to manually remove the excess mulch from the crowns and trunks of the plants. The second challenge is to reduce the total amount of mulch to below three-inch depth. When excessive mulch is removed, fine roots will be exposed.
Do you think you might also have too much mulch in your landscape? Give us a call and let us take care of everything for you.