ali-mulchYes, mulching does make your landscape look much nicer but it’s not all just about looking good. Mulching is very beneficial to your plants, shrubs, and trees when done properly. Placing mulch over the soil’s surface helps to maintain moisture for trees, plants, and shrubs, while improving the overall soil condition. It is one of the best things you can do for the health of the plants in your landscape.  However, spreading mulch improperly can have negative results.

Trees in a natural forest environment have rich soil due to the natural nutrients and soil organisms. When leaves fall, they naturally blanket trees and plants. These organic materials, along with living organisms provide essential nutrients. Trees root systems thrive in this rich soil allowing strong healthy tree and plant growth. In the urban areas and housing developments, the environment is much different. Typically, the environment is much harsher and has poor soil with large swings in soil temperature which directly effects the soil’s moisture content. Laying down several inches of good quality organic mulch material can mimic a more natural environment. Providing trees with the added protection will improve and help maintain good tree and plant health.

Benefits of Mulch are:

  • Helps insulate the soil from wide temperature swings
  • Improves soil moisture content and lessens moisture evaporation
  • Helps control weed germination and growth
  • Provides organic nutrients
  • Provides a well uniform care for look
  • Improves tree and plant overall health

Mulch is available in several different forms and types. Two main variations of mulch types are organic and inorganic.


Inorganic Mulch

Inorganic mulches would be lava rocks, stones, pulverized rubber, and geotextile fabrics to name a few. These types of inorganic mulches don’t break down or decompose. Typically, they don’t need to be replenished very often and they are not intended to improve soil nutrients or improve overall soil conditions.

Organic Mulch

Organic mulch, which is preferred by most property owners, are typically made up of shredded hardwoods, wood chips, pine bark or needles, leaves, and compost mixes –mainly mixes of material derived from plants. Organic mulches will decompose and break down and provide nutrients in the soil for healthy plant growth. Depending on the location, mulch can vary in the amount of decomposition that will occur, which will directly affect how often it will need to be replenished.


How Much Mulch

Even though mulch is beneficial for your plants, shrubs, and trees but like anything else, too much mulch can have a negative impact. As a good rule of thumb 2 to 3 inches of good quality mulch is recommended. Over-mulching and mulch build up can have adverse effects and can actually damage and kill trees and shrubs.


Issues Too Much Mulch Can Cause

  • Too much mulch or mulch build up can causes damage to bark, root rot, and can seriously stress plants, shrubs, and trees.
  • Too much mulch or mulch build up can cause matting and reduce air penetration as well as cause water runoff.
  • Too much mulch and mulch build up against home, patios, fences, etc. can cause drainage issues and structure rotting.


So, mulching is important to the overall health of your landscape, but must be performed properly. It needs to be done right and preparation is key to the effectiveness of the mulching project as well as the final outcome.

At American Landscaping Inc., our professionals will make recommendations for the right mulch for your landscape. Preparing the areas to be mulched is very important. New beds need to cleaned of all weeds, grasses and unwanted materials and proper edging is required for a

 professional finished look. Older beds need to be weeded, excess mulch build up removed, and edged before mulch should be added.

Mulching is very important and performed properly, will result in a healthy and beautiful landscape.