Mulch 'Volcanos' ??

bobby1973April 21, 2008

i'm sure all of you in my area of new jersey (northeast) are familiar with these trendy mulch 'volcanos' that are so popular among landscapers. i drive around my neighborhood and see these monstrous mounds of that bright red-colored mulch piled up against shrubs and trees. the best is when they pile it up around colossal 50-year old well-established trees that were clearly doing just fine on their own before this mulch 'volcano' trend began...

i was just wondering if any of you know the reasoning behind this trend? is there any practical purpose this practice serves? maybe i'm missing something. i just think that from an irrigation perspective, it completely non-sensible. it's essentially an inverted 'berm' or 'mound' which is going to draw water away from the plant/tree, instead of towards it. do any of you in new jersey have any thoughts on this?

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These volcanoes seem to be everywhere, and they're probably my biggest landscaping peeve. They also encourage girdling roots and provide a haven for pests. So why do landscapers do it? Maybe they figure if a little is good for weed control and moisture, a whole lot would be better.

The really sad thing is that home gardeners see these volcanoes mounded up by public works employees and professional landscapers, figure it's the right thing to do, then go ahead and do it on their own property!

As for the red-colored mulch - that's my second biggest peeve, but it's pretty much a matter of personal taste:-)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 4:02PM
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njtea(NJ Z6)

Why do landscapers do it? Job security?

I have talked 'til I'm blue in the face at work about NOT putting volcanos around the trees but nobody listens.

Last night, on the phone with a friend, I told her not to do it but dollars to donuts she will.

Drives me nuts - along with the colored mulch. :-)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 7:09PM
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I've seen it too. I will ask one of those landscapers if I ever get a chance. I don't do that at my home.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 11:50PM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

Maybe it's to make it easier to mow around the trees?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 9:53PM
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Nahh, it's all about merchandising: the larger quanity of
mulch means the bozo landscaper can charge more money and
the naive homeowner thinks he's getting more for his money.
Any real gardener who's done his homework knows the actual
damage those "volcanoes" do . . .

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 10:26PM
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I had always heard (and this is corroborated by Pegi on the Garden Show) that this is a sure way to kill something. She says it should be arranged like a donut with a ring of space around the tree or shrub. Probably "job security" is right.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 6:51AM
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Because they really don't like the eco friendly, tidy looking mulch rings you can get at HD or Lowes made from recycled tires that have weed fabric attached already...

I actually think its more about weed control, the less weeding for the landscaper the lower the cost, and with most clients wanting to keep their trees small (topping!) tree health isn't on top of the list...

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 11:03PM
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ofionnachta(z6 WNJ)

If they want their trees small, why don;t they plant trees of species that will stay small?

My pet peeve is landscapers who plant trees practically inside the peoples' houses. In two years they will be saying the tree is "overgrown" and be taking it out. How about planting trees/shrubs far enough from the house the day you set them in?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 3:27PM
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