There’s nothing better than big fresh mounds of mulch, right? Mulch makes everything better.

But watch the mounds. And don’t spread it too thick. Or too thin.

Is there more to mulch than you think?


Let’s take a look at the top mulching mistakes to avoid.

Bonus: we’ll tell you how to do it right.

Mistake Number 1: Too Much Mulch

If mulch is so great, even more is better, right?


Our Level Green Landscaping crews spread one to two inches of mulch in the spring to help beds retain moisture, deter pesky weeds and keep the landscape looking polished.

mulch used properly on commercial landscape with plants

But piling it on too thick is one of the mulching mistakes a lot of people make.

Use more than a couple inches and your soil will become soggy, encouraging plant diseases. Too much mulch will suffocate your plants’ roots. Just like you, they need air to breathe.

Stick to a nice even layer of one to two inches thick.

Mistake Number 2: Not Enough Mulch

If you don't add enough mulch, it won't keep weeds from pushing their way through. It won’t keep your soil nice and moist and help you conserve water.

Basically, it won’t be doing its job.

Mulch is organic, so as time passes, you’ll notice it will settle and look thin. That means it’s breaking down, enriching your soil and making it more fertile.

It’s still hard at work, boosting your landscape, but when it’s thin, it doesn’t look so great anymore.

So don't try to stretch your hard-working mulch an extra season. Plan to replace it every spring. Some of our customers add an extra layer in fall, too, to ensure that great fresh mulch look year round.

Mistake Number 3: Mulch Volcanoes

Yes, this sounds sort of cool, but it’s among the big mulching mistakes.

We understand how this happens. People think if mulch is so great, they really want to pile it on, mounding it right up against the tree.

The base of your tree needs to breathe. Its roots need to access oxygen. Stifle it with a big mound of mulch and it can get mildew and root rot.

These mulch volcanoes trap moisture against the tree bark, encouraging disease. Damaging insects will burrow in and hang out there.

Keep mulch two or three inches away from the trunks of your trees to keep them happy and healthy.

Mistake Number 4: The Wrong Mulch

Maybe your neighbor is bragging about the free mulch he got from his municipality when they shredded old Christmas trees, or the bargain load he picked up at the hardware store.

All mulches are not created equal. The free stuff can contain pesticides, weed seeds or insects.

Our favorite mulch here at Level Green is double shredded hardwood bark mulch. We go the extra step to use dyed dark brown mulch. The added color helps it stay nice and dark longer, without fading as quickly.

Commercial landscape with mulch and trees

It costs a bit more, but our customers appreciate the rich, dark look throughout the year. It contrasts nicely with your green and colorful plants, adding to your property’s appeal.

This is our top pick, but if you prefer black or red hardwood mulch, we can happily set you up.

If your property includes a playground, we recommend mulch designed specifically for play surfaces — either clean wood with smooth edges or recycled tire mulch.

Mistake Number 5: Not Using Mulch

If you’ve hung out here with us at all, you know the great benefits of mulch. Still, if you’re trying to save a few bucks, it’s tempting to skip it.

Please don’t. We can’t say enough about the benefits of the stuff.

First, a fresh carpet of rich brown mulch looks fantastic, unifying your landscaping and giving the whole place a fresh, clean appearance.

But it does wonders for the health of your soil and plants, too.

A nice layer of mulch helps your soil retain moisture, so you won't have to water as much. Moist roots are happy roots.

It keeps those pesky weeds at bay by blocking the sunlight they need to sprout.

Mulch protects your plants' roots — both from the scorching sun and winter’s chill.

Leaving bare soil on your property will cause erosion and sediment runoff. Mulch prevents rain from washing away your precious landscape soil.

It’s Not Too Soon To Ponder Mulch

We spread mulch twice a year, in the spring and the fall.

We start preparing planting beds at the end of February, clearing out winter’s debris, neatening edges, cutting back ornamental grasses and perennials.

Then we spread one to two inches of mulch to make everything neat and tidy.

Mulch time will be here before you know it.

Make No Mulching Mistakes — Mulch With Level Green

Level Green Landscaping mulch blowerHere at Level Green Landscaping, we’ve got your mulch needs covered. We know all the mulching mistakes — and how to avoid them.

And you get a bonus with us: we’ll bring a cool mulch blower over. A monster of a machine, it spreads mulch perfectly, with powerful ease, in half the time of a crew working by hand.

If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers.

Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.

Contact us at 202-544-0968.

You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.

We’d love to hear from you.

Request a Consultation