Useful Information For Homeowners

Uses and Effects of Mulch
As you consider your use of mulch, here are some homeowner mulch tips. You should keep in mind that organic, as opposed to inorganic mulch, works best for all plants. If you are mulching around evergreens, we recommend using our Pine Fines on the Mulch Page.

Placing mulch over the soil surface in and around the plants within your planting beds will conserve water loss from the soil, provide nutrients to the soil and plants, minimize weed competition, insulate soil, control erosion and improve soil structure. This is why mulching is considered one of the most favorable landscape additives. As an added benefit, mulch can also give landscapes a handsome, well-groomed appearance. 

It is noteworthy to say that The Mulch Center’s manufactured products are 100% sourced from local organics (i.e. trees, shrubs, grasses, etc).  We do not use any materials from construction waste, debris or pallets.

Where To Use Mulch for Best Results

Mulch entire beds of trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials and/or ground covers. Mulching is an important practice for establishing new plantings. Mulch can be used instead of grass around trees and shrubs. This greatly reduces the competition for water and nutrients from the turf and increases the growth rate and health of your plantings. In addition to being useful around plants, mulch can be used as a ground cover for walks, trails, play areas and dog runs.

Master Gardner Assistance

Do you have additional gardening questions? Then the University of Illinois Master Gardener Extension program is a great resource to use. You can get assistance by calling the numbers provided below or you can visit their website by tapping the logo below.

Lake County: (847) 223 -8627

Monday-Friday 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

 McHenry Country: (815) 338-3737 ext. 16

Avoid Volcano Mulching

Unfortunately, North American landscapes are falling victim to a plague of over-mulching. A term, “mulch volcanoes,” has emerged to describe mulch that has been piled up around the base of trees.  See illustration for proper and improper mulching around trees.

Prepare The Area
For optimal results, all areas to be mulched should be cleared of any existing weeds or grass before mulch is applied. As an additional precautionary step in weed control, you can also install a landscape fabric weed barrier to help prevent new growth of weeds or grass, but this is not absolutely necessary.

A shovel and wheel barrow is helpful when transporting the mulch to your planting areas. A pitchfork and/or leaf rake should be used to spread the mulch evenly around your plants.

Mulch Around Trees & Shrubs
According to the International Society of Arboriculture, the mulched area should cover as much of the tree root zone as possible, from near the trunk to the drip line is considered ideal. For recent transplants, mulch beyond the root ball. Maintain mulch for at least three years to facilitate root growth and to protect trees from mechanical damage. Where possible incorporate multiple trees and shrubs into one larger mulch bed, is more effective than single rings around individual trees. For larger existing trees, the minimum radius for mulch is at least three times the trunk diameter.