Spring Fever: Volcano Mulching

By Natural Resources Commissioner, Angela Churchill

Spring has just started, and we know what that means for a lot of homeowners.  Say it with me…Outdoor Projects!  Sprucing up around your home from the winter months can be invigorating for many and we all know that no one appreciates a 50° day in early Spring more than people who live in the Midwest.  Additionally, did you know that research shows digging in the dirt improves one’s wellbeing and mood?  https://www.forbes.com/sites/lauratenenbaum/2020/01/29/digging-in-the-dirt-really-does-make-people-happier/?sh=2230891931e1

You may have started hearing the birds chirping, seeing flowers emerging, and enjoying the grass greening up.  One project that many homeowners might not be aware of is proper mulching around trees.

Last year, I wrote a short paragraph on our NRC Facebook page about this very topic which seemed to be a hit for the masses as it went viral.  So, I am here again sending out an important reminder for everyone. 

Trees add home value, provide needed shade during hotter months and are esthetically pleasing so in order to protect your investment, do not volcano mulch your trees.  Excessive mulching around your tree will cause the tree to die.  If you use a landscaping company to handle the mulching job, speak with them to make sure they do not do this to your valuable trees. 

As Richard Hentschel, a local Horticulture Educator, mentions in his blog, “The proper way to mulch is never to allow mulch to cover the bark by leaving a small ring around the trunk exposed down to the soil and mounding up the mulch three or four inches out and away from the tree trunk to the size of the ring appropriate for the size of the tree.”

For detailed information about mulching, please read this wonderful blog by a local Horticulture Educator.  https://extension.illinois.edu/blogs/over-garden-fence/2020-06-01-trees-deserve-be-mulched-right-way