Beware of the Mulch Volcano ~ No Tree is Safe!!

mulch volcano There are many rumors out there that somehow become common knowledge that are very detrimental to whatever the cause is.

Mulching trees is one of them. I am so saddened when I see trees mulched up to their lower branches, called ‘Mulch Volcanoes’. If the truck of your tree looks the same as a telephone pole, there’s too much mulch on it!!! The tree should flare out where it comes out of the ground.tree fell due to too much mulch on trunk

Sadly, homeowners see this and think this is the correct way to go and the vicious cycle continues. Professional landscapers do it all the time just to fill their pockets, telling you it’s horticulturally correct. Don’t fall for it! You DO NOT need to add mulch to your beds yearly. It is a good idea to cultivate what is still there, though. My advice is to apply biannually or where it may have eroded.

There are many problems that a mulch volcano can cause. Girdling roots, poor growth, mold to name a few.. However, crown rot rates as a number one worst issue. One stiff breeze is all it will take. Notice in the photo to the right, the trunk snapped off right at the mulch-line. These types of happenings can cause some costly repairs. Mulch volcanoes are sneaky. This tree looked completely healthy. Sometimes a tree with a lot of gumption will grow large, however the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Here are my PeeGee Hydrangea trees, PROPERLY mulched, which looked to have survived my fall planting. You can clearly see the root flair at the top of the mulch line. I really only put enough over the rootball to make it the same color/blend well with the mulch doughnut.

tree properly mulched

correct way to mulch

Below is a reality check. Look how high that mulch was! 😯

© The Naturarian

13 thoughts on “Beware of the Mulch Volcano ~ No Tree is Safe!!”

    1. Thank you!
      I feel this misinformation is so widespread, trees everywhere are 🤬.
      It’s also a money maker for landscapers, so this practice is unlikely to be stopped…
      I can’t seem to go anywhere without seeing the volcanos everywhere. 😩
      Maybe I should get cards printed and hand them to offenders 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve not been to Africa (but on my list), so I don’t know your forests….
      Our forests are mostly deciduous trees that loose their leaves. These leaves build up like mulch. Surely where the idea came from.
      A little mulch can help any plant with moisture retention, nitrogen food and protection from other weedy invaders.
      Sadly, this practice got out of hand and some landscapers got greedy by adding extra and others just followed in their footsteps. Very sad ☹️


    1. Oh no! 😯 I do see that also.
      I don’t work in Chicago, however the high end towns I work in around the city are seriously concerned with their street trees. If an official Arborist saw that on one of their street trees, there would be a violation written up.
      These are very high end neighborhoods, tho. No official is coming to my street tree and fining me for doing it in poor town 😕

      Liked by 1 person

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