When Mulch is Evil

A few weeks back, we were cleaning out the leaves caught over the years in the clumps of cast iron plant, Aspidistra elatior ‘Milky Way’ under the live oaks at Chapel St. Fountain Park. This was around the time where it had rained every day for the last two weeks, wet, wet, wet…everywhere.

As I pulled the 6 or so inches of leaves away, I was amazed to find the soil beneath was completly and uttery bone dry. Why, you might ask? Over time this build up actually repells tthe water, acting as a “ducks back” shedding the water away from the plant. And the lack of water absorbtion is not the only problem with over mulching. Poor air circulation, a rampant problem here in the south givesa diseases and pests a perfect environment to take hold, leading to decreases vigor or death in plants.

More than 3 inches….too much. This goes for the mounds of mulch ringing trees, flower beds with layers of pine straw building up from year to year and all those leaves blown into the beds from the handy leaf blowing excercise performed weekly.

A little goes a long way and a lot is asking for problems!

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