The Q&A Archives: why not mulch touching the trunk of plants

Question: I have noticed that in a lot of your answers you tell people to put organic mulch around the plant for lots of reasons, but you also tell them not to let the mulch touch the trunk of the plant. What is the reason for that?

Answer: Organic mulch such as compost, or shredded or chipped bark can hold too much moisture against the trunk or main stem of a plant and cause rot. Organic mulch piled up against a tree trunk can also be a great hiding or nesting place for rodents. They can gnaw away at the trunk without being detected. For the health of your trees and shrubs, keep mulch material from coming in contact with the bark.

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