How To Install Bark Mulch Around Trees
Bark Mulching Around Trees
Many people and “professional landscapers” do not know how to install bark mulch around trees. The photo below is an example of what NOT to do!
Avoid The Mulch Volcano
Improperly installed bark mulch pictured in the above and below photo is often referred to as a “mulch volcano.” Soil or mulch placed in this manner causes tree root stress and can stunt, stress or even kill the tree. Don’t mound up dirt or mulch around the trunks of trees.
Problems Associated With Mulch Volcano
- Excessive tree mulching can suffocate feeder roots.
- Piling up mulch against a tree can cause harm to the tree and invites disease, insects and rodents.
- Water runs off the sides of the sloped mulch and away from trees tree’s base, which is where most of its feeder roots are.
- Piling 6″ of mulch is too deep and much of the water that would otherwise reach the tree’s roots gets absorbed by the mulch.
How To Install Mulch
When learning how to install bark mulch around trees it is important to know what some nomenclature about trees. Specifically the tree flare.
The “trunk flare” of the tree should always be exposed and a channel should exist around the perimeter of the mulched area to draw water toward the tree. The trunk flare is the portion of the tree trunk close to the ground that starts flare or curve out and away.
It is important NOT to bury this flare as the flare is part of the tree and not part of the tree root system. Bark protects tree trunks from atmospheric elements, but it does not resist soil moisture as well as the tree root covering does. Mulch or soil piled up to the tree flare can cause decay as well as introduce insects and pathogens to the tree.
If you are mulching around a tree, start to taper the mulch down when you get to within 1-inch of the tree trunk, laving the base of the tree free from mulch.