Declaring War on Mulch Mounding of Trees

Declaring War on Mulch Mounding of Trees

Mike McGrath, radio personality of You Bet Your Garden, has declared war on the practice of mulch mounding of trees! To support his plea to cease and desist this practice, he has interviewed several tree experts including our own curator, Andrew Bunting.

The beautiful root flare of a newly planted Quercus rubra. photo credit: R. Robert

Mulch mounding can be so devastating to trees that the Scott Arboretum only applies mulch on the ground around the tree. When we plant, we even pull back the ground to expose the dramatic root flare.

Gypsy moth have infested this Betula nigra Heritage. photo credit: R. Robert

These colossal mounds of mulch retain moisture around the tree trunk, encouraging the development of adventitious root growth. These roots grow straight up through the mulch, are the first to die during a drought,  and ensure that your tree is the first to die as well. This excessive retention of moisture around the bark also weakens the tree; making it the first to succumb to pest and diseases.

Just say NO to improper mulching. photo credit: R. Robert

Hear Mike McGrath’s plea to halt this practice, the testimony of several other plant experts, and Andrew Bunting’s insight (45:15 min.) on You Bet Your Garden website. For the health of your trees and your landscape, we join Mike McGrath in saying “stop improper mulching and just say no!”

Becky Robert
  • Joan Johnson
    Posted at 14:03h, 29 October Reply

    I am a Rutgers Master Gardener with a specialty in trees and the planting thereof.How hard is it to understand that the correct planting does not include building mulch volcanoes or any other kind of volcano! If only they would erupt upon being built! I am so glad to have Mike to lead the way as his voice is much stronger than mine or even the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Burlington County NJ.
    Go for it Mike!
    Joan Johnson

    • Becky Robert
      Posted at 14:06h, 29 October Reply

      This is a message that can’t be said by enough people in enough ways. Thank you for helping create awareness about this problem. Hopefully if we all keep talking about the problem, the message will get to those who are mounding and mounding and mounding. Becky

  • Wayne Tyson
    Posted at 19:07h, 11 December Reply

    Nine-tenths of the hell being raised in the world is well-intentioned.

  • Joan Johnson
    Posted at 10:44h, 17 February Reply

    I am the person with the comment above. I am a member of the Lumberton Shade Tree Committee. We are a Tree City U.S.A participant for several years and have a Beautification Project in progress involving some 150 trees to be planted…hopefully this year with the help of a generous local donating group. We wondered if we could get this article printed for presentation to folks during our Arbor Day Celebration April 23, 2016. Would you give us permission to have it printed if indeed you cannot do it for us.
    Thank you for your time and look forward to hearing from you.
    Joan Johnson Marilyn Bidrawn
    Arbor Day Co-chairs

    • Becky Robert
      Posted at 16:18h, 18 February Reply

      Dear Joan,
      You are welcome to reprint the article. Please let me know if we can help in any other way.

      Becky Robert

  • SD
    Posted at 18:15h, 27 February Reply

    MY MY the mulch oh my

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