Common Mulching Mistakes to Avoid

Whether you own a residential or commercial lawn, chances are you’ve probably applied mulch to your yard. A fresh layer of organic mulch adds nutrients, prevents soil erosion, and keeps weeds at bay. 

While mulching may seem straightforward, it’s anything but simple. You need some level of landscaping knowledge to know how to install mulch properly. If applied incorrectly, you could end up harming the plants and shrubs in your lawn. Check out these common mulch mishaps that you should avoid:

Not Applying Mulch at All

Some people don’t treat mulching as a primary landscaping task. They may see mulching as an unnecessary step that consumes a lot of time and effect. That’s why it could be tempting to leave out mulch applications. 

However, not applying mulch at all is a huge mistake. Skipping mulching means your landscape would miss out on all the benefits of mulch. Here are the reasons why you should apply mulch for a healthy garden:

  • Acts as a buffer against nature’s harsh elements
  • Adds nutrients and organic matter to the soil
  • Improves soil health
  • Retains moisture during the summer season
  • Keeps plants warm in the winter
  • Prevents weeds from germinating
  • Protects plants against temperature changes
  • Creates a uniform appearance in your garden

Building Mulch Volcanoes

A “mulch volcano” is a term used to describe heaps of mulch and woodchips around the base of a tree. This thick layer of mulch is harmful as it traps moisture and airflow, causing trees to die. It also encourages fungal growth and poses a fire hazard. 

Regardless of the type of mulch used, mulch volcanoes are a bad idea. A two to four-inch layer of mulch is enough to promote tree health without suffocating the trees or plants.

Not Prepping the Site

Another common mistake is not prepping the site prior to mulching. First, you need to remove the old mulch and pull weeds before adding a fresh layer of dried leaves and wood chips. It’s also recommended to use weed killer to eliminate pesky sprouts. If you lay mulch on top of the soil without removing big patches of weeds, they may continue to grow and spread. 

Applying Mulch in Thick Layers

Similar to mulch volcanoes, thick layers of mulch can do more harm than good. Depth matters more than the breadth or area covered. Too much mulch will only suffocate your plants and attract pests and rodents. 

In general, you should keep mulch at least 2 to 4 inches thick. However, the ideal depth depends on the type and material used. Learn more from this guide:

1 Inch: Rocks, Stones, Gravel Mulch, and Sawdust

1–2 Inches: Compost and Grass Clippings

1–3 Inches: Loose Mulch and Wood Chips

2–3 Inches: Leaves, Pine Needles, and Shredded Bark

Using the Wrong Kind of Mulch

All mulch is not created equal. Mulch is a broad term for any product that covers soil. It includes anything from tree bark and straw to rocks and landscape fabric. Some types of mulch may work for others, while some may not. It all comes down to using the right mulch that best suits your landscaping needs.

If your lawn is filled with weeds, the best mulches to use are shredded leaves, wood chips, and bark. These mulches block sunlight and stop any potential growth of weeds. They also break down gradually over time, which adds nutrients for healthy plant growth.

For homeowners with vegetable gardens, plant-based mulch like compost and chopped leaves are recommended. They help control erosion while adding much-needed nutrients to the soil.

To protect your residential or commercial landscape, it’s best to stay away from treated mulches. These types of mulch contain CCA or chromated copper arsenate, which could kill young plants. Instead, choose an organic mulch that’s free of such chemicals. Organic mulches are available in local garden centers and retailers.

Best Mulching Services in Carlisle PA

At Midstate Landscaping, we have the best lawn experts in town. From mulching to commercial landscaping and lawn care, our team will help you maintain your outdoor space. Due to our excellent service and professionalism, we are continuously receiving great reviews from our clients. 

Feel free to get in touch with us for a free quote! We’ll make sure that your landscape will be something you can be proud of.