Nothing livens up your commercial landscape like a fresh layer of mulch.

And aesthetics aren’t mulch’s only benefits. Mulch helps your soil retain moisture, suppresses weed growth in your landscape beds, acts as a great insulator to keep temperatures consistent, and even helps prevent soil compaction by breaking down and adding nutrients to the soil. All of these perks can help prevent root compaction, improve your soil’s physical structure, and reduce any lawn mower and string trimmer damage to your plants.

Like any organic material, shredded hardwood mulch has a shelf life on your commercial property. The sun exposure wears it down, as well as rain, erosion, and decomposition. As such, replenishing your mulch on a regular basis is vital to maintaining these benefits and keeping your facility looking tidy and neat.

You might think mulching requires no skill – just apply and go. But mulching correctly takes experience and knowledge of how to install mulch correctly in order to avoid common mulching mistakes.

Let’s review some of the worst issues that can happen with poor mulching and how you can avoid them on your commercial site.

7 Major Mulching Mistakes on Commercial Properties

Mulch is the best. We know it. You know it.

But mulch is only effective when it’s applied properly. Without proper mulching techniques, some issues can occur that aren’t beneficial for your commercial property’s aesthetics or the preservation and growth of your valuable trees, shrubs, and plants.

Avoid these mulching mistakes on commercial properties to ensure you get the best of what mulch can provide.

Mistake #1: Not Applying Any Mulch

Yes, not applying mulch may not seem like a mulching mistake to some people, but missing out on this easy add-on service that you can use to gain so many benefits on your commercial property.

In places like Northeast Ohio, temperature control is important since frost heave is an issue. Mulch protects your soil from Mother Nature’s extremes, acting as a buffer.

managers look at  landscape bed with mulch

No commercial facility manager likes dealing with weeds; they are eyesores on your property. Mulch helps here, too, by making it harder for weeds to gain a foothold in your landscape beds. If you don’t apply mulch, weeds might have free reign to roam, choking out the plants you actually want to grow.

By not mulching, you’re also not introducing fresh organic material to your soil for improvement.

Mulch can be built into your commercial landscape service contract or broken out separately, based on your specific needs.

Read Our Guide to Hiring a Commercial Landscaping Company

Mistake #2: Too Much Mulch

Typically, mulch is best applied at a depth of 2 to 4 inches. But this also depends on how well a property keeps up with annual mulching, which can impact how much mulch is needed from year to year.

But there are always those who think more is better when it comes to mulch.

They create mulch volcanoes around their trees, piling mulch up 8 to 12 inches high around trunks.

commercial landscape maintenance being installed by technician

Unfortunately, this mulching mistake can result in negative effects. Excess mulch around a tree trunk can lead to bark decay, fungus, disease, improper root growth, and root suffocation.

While plant decline as a result of overmulching is slow, it can still happen. You never want to choke a tree trunk or pille up too much of a good thing.

The right way to do this is to create a well around your tree trunks with the mulch that is higher at the outer edges to ensure it’s not touching or suffocating your tree trunks.

Mistake #3: Excessively Light Mulch

Yes, no mulch is bad and excess mulch is bad, but so is just a sprinkling of mulch.

You might think you’re saving money or avoiding mulch volcanoes, but applying less than 2 inches of mulch might just be a waste of time. It won't properly insulate the soil or prevent weeds, and as it breaks down there will be bare spots.

Commercial Landscaping Technician takes out landscape bed

Mulching on your commercial property is a refined art that requires a proper 2 to 4-inch depth.

Mulch can cost anywhere from $70 to $75 per yard installed. This will cover approximately 100 square feet. You don’t want to go too cheap and get an inadequate layer or you may actually be wasting money or spending more when you have to redo your mulch again later.

Mistake #4: Forgetting to Prep the Site

There are professional techniques that make mulch work its best and revive your commercial landscape.

Commercial landscaping technician dumps wheelbarrow of mulch

One such problem is not properly prepping the landscape beds prior to mulching on your commercial property.

First, you want to mix up the old mulch before adding fresh mulch. You also want to pull weeds before mulching to remove them from your landscape beds.

Mistake #5: Ignoring Proper Frequency

Mulching on commercial properties is best done once a year for a fresh look and great benefits.

But if your budget is tight, we recommend mulching every other year. Then you can perform mulch cultivation during the off years to freshen and turn your old mulch and give it new life when necessary.

Mistake #6: Using the Wrong Kind of Mulch

Cheap mulch that is too finely textured won’t last the year on your property, making it a mulching mistake. It’ll decompose more quickly and even alter your soil pH in negative ways.

Commercial Landscaping Skid Steer loads up mulch

Double shredded hardwood mulch is what you want. It helps retain soil moisture and keeps plant roots at an even temperature. It’s the best for the soil as well because it adds great nutrients as it breaks down.

This type of mulch comes in brown, which is the most popular color, but it also comes in black.

Mistake #7: Ignoring Signs of Too Much Mulch

Mulch should never be placed over the root flares of trees. This is the location where the topmost root emerges from the trunk.

Trees need to breathe. They can’t do that if they are suffocated by mulch.

Other signs you may notice as this problem persists if mulching on your commercial property was done incorrectly are:

  • Early leaf drop
  • Dead branches
  • Softer bark at the tree’s base
  • Rotting flower stems
  • Smaller leaves that the tree or shrub typically has
  • Fungus, disease, or mold presence

We Can Help You Get Your Commercial Property Mulch Done Just Right

The best-looking commercial landscapes in Northeast Ohio boast great-looking plant materials; full, green trees and lawns; and clean, well-designed and installed hardscapes and landscape beds that are set off gorgeously with shredded hardwood mulch.

Whether you manage an office park, college or university campus, homeowners’ association, retail center, or health care facility, your landscape should be something you can look at and be proud of. It should be working for you versus against you by drawing in customers, guests, visitors, tenants, and others. It should be something that elevates your brand and creates a great look and feel for anyone navigating your entrances, exits, and outdoor rest areas or hangouts.

You certainly don’t want a mulching mistake to take this all away from you. How frustrating would that be?

Let Turfscape help. We’re mulch masters, so you don’t have to worry about getting enough mulch or having too much mulch. We know how to get this landscape addition just right for your site’s specific needs. Your personal preference, property specifications, business style, and budget matter, and we make sure to take that all into account when helping you maintain your commercial facility landscape.

Want to learn more about our mulch services in Northeast Ohio? Get started today with a free quote. We’ll review your options together so you can feel confident and make a great choice.

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