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Proper mulch around a tree

How to Mulch a Tree

Mulch provides many benefits for trees, including storing water, regulating temperature, protecting soil, and keeping out weeds. Too much mulch, however, can be harmful to trees, causing disease and rot. Follow the steps below to turn your mulch volcano into a mulch ring to help your tree thrive!  

Step 1: Remove old mulch

Removing old mulch from the base of a tree

Keep going until you get to bare soil. Don’t be scared, you may need to remove a large quantity of grass, mulch, or flowers.


Step 2: Find the Root Flare

Root flare

It’s where the stem, trunk, or bark changes to roots. On small trees, it’s usually a change in color or where roots are visible. Remove soil down to the root flare.


Step 3: Add New Mulch

Add new mulch

Use mulch without colors or dyes. Shredded hardwood bark is best and can be found at your local hardware store or nursery.


Step 4: Check the Mulch Depth

Check the mulch depth

Mulch should be 3”- 4” deep. Don’t have a ruler? Measure to the middle of your hand.


Step 5: Make Sure the Mulch Isn’t Touching the Base of the  Tree

The mulch should not touch the base of the tree.

This helps prevent disease and rot.


Step 6: Repeat Steps 3-5 Every Spring and Fall

Add new mulch every spring and fall

Replenish lost mulch and remove any weeds that have popped up near the tree.


Have a Mulch Volcano? Fix it!

Mulch volcanoes are a common sight around the County. People think that piling MORE mulch around the base of the tree is MORE helpful. But they would be wrong! The truth is that mulch volcanoes can slowly kill a tree, especially a young one.
  • Too much mulch heats up and stays moist around the trunk of a tree creating great conditions for harmful bacteria and fungi
  • Too much mulch is great habitat for insects like ants and borers that can damage a tree
  • Too much mulch can keep water and air from reaching the roots robbing the tree of energy
Instead of a mulch volcano – properly mulch your tree using the instructions above. See how tree experts turned a mulch volcano into a mulch ring in this quick video.    
Step by step instructions on how to fix a mulch volcano

Our full poster with step by step instructions on how to fix a mulch volcano.

My Green Montgomery