Gardening enthusiasts have a new pet peeve when it comes to green-fingered faux pas, and it’s not weed liner.
The phenomenon known colloquially as “mulch volcanoes” has led to horror among the horticultural community, and yet another person has taken to Reddit to vent their frustrations.
“Please stop the mulch volcanoes,” they captioned an image of the material piled up against a tree trunk, noting that this particular example was up to two feet tall.
And the comments section was quick to share stories of their own encounters with the grotesque gardening gaffe.
“They riddle my neighborhood,” one Redditor said. “Not as bad as the one in the photo but close. The thing is, the vast majority of them were perpetrated by ‘landscapers’.”
“Maybe they’re intentionally trying to kill it?” a commenter questioned. “At any rate, this might be a new record. Stunning. And look, the bark is already splitting, jesus.”
“This might be the worst I have ever seen,” another said in bewilderment.
Mulching the base of a tree might seem like a good idea to help provide nutrients for growth, but it’s more likely to have the opposite effect.
The thick layer of dirt will restrict the roots’ access to vital light and oxygen. Furthermore, mulch absorbs and retains water, and if it is piled up against the bark of a tree, that can weaken the protective armor and allow insects and bacteria in. From there, leaves can become discolored and die, while the tree itself will struggle to survive.
If you spot a mulch volcano, Leaf & Limb recommends raking the mulch away from the tree and reapplying it with a depth of just two to four inches, ensuring no mulch is found within four to six inches of the base. Extending the mulch to the edge of the tree canopy could also be helpful.
So let’s stop with the mulch volcanoes, shall we? It’s causing far too many gardeners to erupt.
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