FredTalks – As Unpleasant as It Sounds

Contributed By: Fred Peratt, President EEI
April 3, 2024

by Environmental Enhancements

Insects love these.

THE PROBLEM: Hey Fred, Last year I went a little wild with mulch. I love the way it looks in my gardens (I have five beds), and I put it around my ornamental trees, too. But now that mulch has gone way up in price, I need to back off. How little mulch can I get away with and still reap the benefits?

FRED SAYS: One of my pet peeves is “mulch mounds” around trees, which I see everywhere. When people build a mulch volcano around the base of a tree, they run the risk of killing the tree with too little air or bug infestation. (Not to mention how it looks…)

Gardens, too, can smother under thick piles of mulch.

The answer to your question is pretty straightforward—2” deep layers in your beds and around trees is plenty. Leave a 2” breather around the tree trunk, too.

And be sure to remove and replace your mulch when it becomes thin or scattered. Layering new mulch over old can starve your plants and cause root rot, which is as unpleasant as it sounds.

Please reach out if you’d like to hear about our landscaping services! 703.421.7400 or

Fred Peratt is president of Environmental Enhancements Inc., an award-winning landscaping company serving the DC metro area since 2001. Fred is well-known in the landscaping industry for his dedication to innovation, teamwork, and the highest standards of workmanship.

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