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Home > Government > Village Services > Mulch Giveaway

Mulch Giveaway

Wood chips applied around the base of plants and trees helps to retain the moisture in the soil, hold down aggressive weed growth, return nutrients to the soil, prevents lawn mowers from damaging plants and is visually attractive.

Truck loads of mulch are available for delivery by Public Works in volumes of 3- or 6-cubic yards, while supplies last.  To arrange for a weekday delivery, or for more information, call 630/620-2020.

The Public Works Director is Rick Federighi.

Mulching Basics

Mulching is one of the most beneficial things a homeowner can do to keep trees healthy. When applied properly, mulch helps maintain soil moisture, control weeds, improve soil structure, insulate plant roots, and inhibit certain plant diseases. Mulch also protects plants and trees from "weed whacker" damage and lawnmower injuries - in addition to giving planting beds a uniform, well-cared-for look.

To ensure the health of your trees and plants, follow these practical mulching tips:

  • For well-drained sites, apply a 2 to 4-inch layer of mulch. If drainage problems exist, use a thinner layer.
  • If mulch is already present, check the depth. Do not add mulch if there is already a sufficient layer (2 to 4 inches) in place. Instead, rake the old mulch to break up any matted layers and refresh the appearance.
  • Avoid placing mulch against the tree trunk. The mulch surrounding a tree should resemble more to the likeness of a “crater” (thickest at the outer edges and shallow in the center up to the root crown) opposed to a “volcano or mound” (where mulch is mounded/piled up against the tree).
  • If mulch is already piled against the stems or tree trunks, pull it back several inches so that the base of the trunk and the root crown are exposed.
  • Mulch out to the tree’s drip line (branch tips) or beyond if possible.
  • Organic mulches are preferable for their soil-enhancing properties.

Over-mulching, however, is one of the most frequent landscaping mistakes made - often causing significant damage to the tree. The International Society of Arboriculture recommends a mulching depth of 2 to 4 inches, pulled away from the trunk of the tree to expose the “flare” of the roots. Often times, small entrepreneur landscape operations and ill-informed private homeowners pile mulch high against tree trunks to create the popular (yet harmful) volcano look. The root flare (crown) and portions of the trunk are no longer visible as they are buried within the mulching material. Although the mounding of mulch high around the trees may appear aesthetically pleasing to many homeowners, reputable certified landscape contractors and arborists avoid such poor plant-health-care practices. Too much mulch - be it layers deep or piled high against tree trunks - can cause major problems and prove harmful in more ways than one, including:

  • Excess moisture in the root zone, which causes plant stress and root rot
  • Insect and disease problems
  • Micro-nutrient deficiency or toxicity
  • Weed growth
  • Smelly planting beds, caused by anaerobic conditions and "sour" mulch
  • Habitat creation for rodents that chew bark and girdle trees
  • Surface girdling root growth in the thick decomposing mounds of mulch