Often times when you look at mulch around trees and shrubs you will see large mounds of mulch applied around the base of plants. This is not good for any plant as it will cause the bark to moisten and soften which allows for insects, rodents and diseases to invade. A proper layer of 1.5″-2.0″ of organic mulch allows moisture retention, suppresses weeds and adds organic matter to the soil when it breaks down. Too thick of a layer of hardwood mulch applied year after year and it will raise the manganese levels too high and reduce the proper levels of iron plants need to stay healthy. There are simple steps to apply mulch. First, clean out the landscape beds of the winter fallen leaves and early spring weeds. Next, edge the beds and apply a weed pre-emergent like Preen. You can also at this time apply plant fertilizers. Then apply a 1.5″ – 2.0″ layer of organic mulch. It’s important the mulch not be applied to think around the base of every plant. If all goes well you can repeat the process every 2-3 years with another thin layer of mulch. Another quick note, many plants and trees have exposed surface roots. This is the plants natural growth development searching for air and water. Covering all the surface roots with a thick layer of mulch will essentially suffocate the plant. If you’re looking for help mulching your landscape beds call Ingram Lawn & Garden.