FAQ - Top mulching mistakes

Mulching annual flower beds

Large pieces of mulch near the head of the flower will 'dampen" off the bloom due to increased humidity.  If mulch is used to reduce weeds, use finer mulch and spread it out to a depth of 3/4".  Our Pine Bark Mini Nuggets are a great mulch for annuals

Placing plastic weed barrier beneath the mulch

Plastic weed barriers negate the organic benefit of mulch.  Moisture is limited in penetrating this barrier.  While we do offer a fibrous weed barrier product, to receive the optimal benefit from mulch we recommend that you do not use a barrier.

Too much mulch

Excessive mulching and heaping mounds can pull feeder roots to the surface, which stress the plant during periods of extreme weather conditions.  Too much mulch can cause suffocation of the plant as it hinders oxygen from getting to the plants.   Spread mulch more evenly to the standard recommended depth of 2-3".

Wood chips are not mulch

Wood chips are not recommended as a beneficial mulch although many people find them acceptable as mulch.  Chips made from limbs and branches from tree trimmings decay at an accelerated rate.  Once again, just like green mulch, wood chips that have not been aged properly can rob your plant of beneficial nitrogen. 

Using hurricane mulch

Free storm debris may hold large volumes of weed seeds from exotic, nonnative plants, as well as other harmful contaminates.  Professionally manufactured mulch is processed to eliminate the ability for weed seeds to germinate.

Laying green mulch

Certain type of mulch like green horticultural waste that has not been aged properly or screened is not very beneficial as mulch.  As this material begins to decompose, this type of mulch material will use up a lot of valuable soil nitrogen which deprives your plants of nitrogen in the process.   

Source of mulch

Construction and demolition material can contain harmful contaminates such as nails, plastics and metal, and even Chromated copper arsenate (CCA), used to treat lumber. 

Using decorative rock or stone as mulch

Rock and stone radiate heat within the plant bed generating stress and do not offer any horticultural value for plants.  Organic mulch's holds moisture and minimizes temperature fluctuations better.

Mulching at the base of a tree

Avoid placing excessive mulch around the trunk or stems.  Adequate space has to be available so that the plant can breathe.  A common practice is to pile the mulch up around the base of a tree also know as a mulch volcano because the tree trunk sticks out of a mound of mulch.  This practice traps moisture against the tree bark and encourages bacterial and fungal disease.  Deep applications of mulch around tree trunks encourages rotting of the cambium or bark of the tree.  Possibly even killing the tree!  The proper method is to place the mulch in the shape of a doughnut.  This also allows the cavity to capture and retain rainwater.  Mulch must be tapered away from the trunk of trees before applying the recommended depth of 2-3". 

Not mulching at all

The benefits of mulching far exceed the decision not to mulch.  Mulch plays a fundamental role in promoting healthy plant growth.  Mulch helps to reduce loss of moisture from the soil through evaporation thus enabling soil water retention. The soil can experience considerably cooler temperatures arising from the presence of mulch especially during the hot summer months. Mulch also helps in minimizing the growth of weeds.  Decomposition of mulch reduces soil compaction that open areas for roots to expand through the soil seeking out nutrients.  Decomposition returns micro-nutrients and minerals into you plant bed, including carbon, an essential element for plant growth.