Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Two spring chores for gardeners are mulching and building news planting beds today on Southern Gardening.
Every spring mulch volcanoes form due to applying mulch incorrectly. When a thick layer of mulch is spread around the trunk of a tree the mulch will hold moisture around the tree trunk creating bark decay, allowing pathogens to get under the bark. Circling roots are found in mulch volcanoes where the roots grow into the mulch instead of the surrounding soil, eventually strangling the tree. The proper way to mulch a tree or shrub is to first spread an even 2” to 3” layer around the base of the tree. After the mulch is applied, use a rake or by hand pull the mulch back away from the tree trunk. It’s OK to leave a thin layer so there is not any bare soil exposed as long as the mulch does not touch the tree trunk. As the mulch is pulled back, contour the mulch to resemble a bowl. This will help to collect water and direct it towards the root system of the tree during rain or irrigation. As we move into spring one way to add excitement to the landscape is by adding raised beds. Raising the planting bed above the natural grade greatly improves drainage, especially in south Mississippi. Amend the soil using good quality compost and create a mounded shape. Sides can be added using treated lumber (the current treating processes are OK) or concrete blocks to effectively raise the planting bed. Raised beds are particularly back friendly.
When you mulch those new landscape beds correctly your landscape is sure to look good. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.