In many cases, people will just keep piling the new mulch on top of the old mulch, and that is a HUGE mistake.
If you do not properly maintain the mulch around trees, you can actually suffocate the roots.
One way to tell if this is what has been happening to your trees is if you notice the bark of the tree is actually falling off. If that is the case, it may actually be too late and the tree will have to be replaced.
Another way to tell if the tree roots are having difficulty is by digging into the mulch around the tree. If you start to see secondary roots, it is definite sign the primary roots are being suffocated,
To Fix Mulching
- Use your cultivator to dig off the top layer of mulch to expose secondary roots. If you have an air compressor, you can use that to displace loosened dirt after unpacking the soil. Otherwise, you will need to continue to do it by hand.
- Once you have the secondary roots exposed, you will need to use your shears to cut any roots that are coming up out of the ground around the tree to prevent them from strangling the main roots.
- Add some top soil to fill in the voids around the tree that were created by removal of secondary roots, but do not cover the primary root flare.
- Place the mulch into the area around the tree by hand. Your goal is to NOT have the mulch exceed two inches.
- Spread the mulch around so it is even and remember to NOT cover the root flare.
To see this done step-by-step, view the video below…
As you can see, this is not a very difficult task, but it is one that is essential if you are going to have your trees grow up healthy and strong.
Photo – This Old House Youtube Video