Why Volcano Mulching and Other Bad Practices are Hurting Your Landscape

Did you know that bad landscaping practices might really be hurting your commercial property? If you have a groundskeeper or even a commercial landscape company maintaining your property and instituting bad practices, then they may be doing some real harm.

Unfortunately, we see this all of the time. Seemingly small or insignificant mistakes are made without thinking they’re a big deal. But in the long run, they can actually be quite costly—and you’re the one that has to foot the bill.

Stop Volcano Mulches from Erupting

Volcano mulching is one of the most common “bad practices” that we see. It is essentially just a slang term for mounding mulch up against a tree, creating a volcano-like pile. Though this is common, it’s not the right way to mulch. Unfortunately, we still see volcano mulches everywhere we go. Chances are, you’ve seen them, too. Hopefully, you don’t currently have a lot of volcano mulches on your own property as this can be a very detrimental practice.


The biggest problem is that when you pile mulch against the bark of a tree, you are exposing it to moisture within the mulch. It’s also blocking the trunk’s access to sunlight. This can cause the tree bark to begin to rot, which will potentially expose the tree to diseases and pests. In time, this can cause your tree to decline or even die.

Of course, properly installed mulch can be very beneficial to your property’s trees. They can help retain moisture in the soil which helps reduce the need for frequent watering. They can also protect fragile roots, help suppress weeds, and simplify mowing practices around your trees.

Instead of a volcano, a proper mulch ring around a tree should have a doughnut appearance. Mulch should be pulled approximately 4 to 6 inches away from the tree’s bark so that you can see the trunk.

Other Mistakes to Avoid

Of course, volcano mulching is not the only common landscape mistake we see made on commercial properties. Let’s look at a few more that you’ll want to be sure to avoid.

Pruning Errors

When it comes to pruning your property’s trees and shrubs, mistakes can be costly. That’s because certain trees and shrubs can only be pruned at certain times of the year. Pruning at the wrong time can actually prevent a flowering tree or shrub from blooming that season (if you accidentally remove the buds that produce blooms). This isn’t just a do-it-yourself mistake—even landscape companies with inexperienced workers have made this error.

Weeding Mistakes

How can one make a mistake with weeding, you ask? Isn’t a weed just a weed? Absolutely not! We have seen many inexperienced landscapers mistakenly pull native plant material that they thought were weeds. Since native plants are often used to create bioretention areas, this can be an incredibly costly mistake.

Improper Mowing

Most people underestimate just how important proper mowing is to the overall appearance of your turfgrass. But even simple mistakes—such as cutting your grass too short—can have a huge impact on the overall success of your lawn. Not only will cutting your grass too short make it more prone to weed growth but it will also impact the color. A short lawn is more likely to look yellowish instead of bright green.

Your Choice Matters

You shouldn’t have to earn a degree in horticulture to understand what your landscaper should—or shouldn’t—be doing on your property. You ought to be able to trust that the company you hire knows their stuff.

That’s why your choice in commercial land care really does matter. By choosing a reputable and experienced company, you can feel confident that they aren’t going to make costly mistakes on your property.

While we’ve just named some of the most common landscaping mistakes we see, there are many others. But none of them will have to be a worry when you hire the right company. Your choice to work with a company you can trust will give you the peace of mind that you’re in good hands.