George in Cary, NC

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geomcd1949
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:05 pm

George in Cary, NC

Post by geomcd1949 » Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:29 pm

Hi, I'm George McDowell, proud new member. Retired lawyer and military helicopter pilot. My town has a huge number of volcano-mulched trees. This drives me batty. Rather than simply ignoring the craziness, I thought I'd try to do something about it. Our publicly and commercially maintained trees show the predictable rattiness and other effects of starvation and desiccation. I publish a website showing the results of volcano-mulching, and how to amend the improperly maintained trees. Also send the city council and environmental advisory board a "Town of Cary Volcano-Mulching Weekly Update."

In order to do something positive that brings attention to trees, I plan to begin a Champion Tree Program for the town. The town currently has NO champions on the national or NC state lists. But it may generate some interest if we can start a program to identify the town's own champions. It is for this reason that I join NTS, and where I hope I can get good advice and council for this endeavour. It will be my program, which means no government interference or bureaucracy and that I can move at my own speed, but will consider once it gets going to turn it over to town

I know nothing about big trees except that I once hiked a redwood forest and will never be the same again.

~George

Joe

Re: George in Cary, NC

Post by Joe » Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:41 pm

George, what is "volcano mulching"? Perhaps it's the type of mulching I've seen at a Walmart- whereby the trees do have volcano looking mulch around them. When they planted these trees with that type of mulching, I was sure the trees would not survive but they have and look good, though I don't know why. I suppose if it doesn't hurt the trees- we should learn to like it, but, it doesn't look "natural". I presume the reason is to discourage people (especially those who mow the grass) from getting close to the tree- which may injure them--- I dunno.
Joe

geomcd1949
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Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:05 pm

Re: George in Cary, NC

Post by geomcd1949 » Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:59 pm

Hi Joe,

Volcano mulching is the process of piling mulch up around the trunk of a tree, sometimes to absurd heights of three or four feet. For a tree to thrive, it must have its root flare uncovered. If not, moisture retained in the piled-up mulch spurs rodent, insect, bacteria, and fungi growth, all of which feed on the bark. When the outer layer of the tree (the bark) is exposed, the next inner layer (the cambrium) is unprotected, and its function is degraded. Its function is to carry water and nutrients up through the tree. In addition to retarding the development of the tree, and eventually killing it, the mulch and its rotten contents emit a sour odor. The piled mulch also confuses the roots, which then grow into the mulch instead of outward and downward. These roots may circle the trunk and cut into it, as both the roots and trunk grow larger. When the normal root-growth of the tree is thrown off by volcano mulching, the tree, unnaturally anchored, is much more likely to fall over in times of wet and/or windy weather.

It is said that one's observation is drawn to his interest. You observed the WalMart trees and didn't notice stunting or poor growth. But I suggest that if other trees of the same species and size had been planted nearby, and NOT volcano-mulched, they they would be MUCH larger and more leaf intense than the improperly mulched trees.

The excuse that volcano mulching prevents lawn-mower and weed-whacker damage is used by unethical landscaping companies to sell about 15 to 30 times more mulch than necessary. One or two cubic feet is sufficient to cover the ground around a tree to a depth (2 to 4 inches) recommended by the co-operative extension services of EVERY state in the U.S. One cubic yard per tree is what the volcano-mulchers usually use (sell).

I have long searched for an article by any credentialed writer that says there is ANY benefit gained from volcano mulching a tree. There simply aren't any.

See my website: http://savecarytrees.org/ especially the images, and note the sickening results of the process. When I see a volcano-mulched tree, I experience the same inner revulsion that I'd feel when seeing somebody hitting a dog or a horse with a stick.

Hope this convinces you! And thank you for asking.

~George

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Lucas
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Re: George in Cary, NC

Post by Lucas » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:56 pm


Click on image to see its original size


Click on image to see its original size

https://www.google.ca/search?q=volcano+ ... 20&bih=979

I wondered too. A pic is worth....

Looks bad for the tree.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

geomcd1949
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Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:05 pm

Re: George in Cary, NC

Post by geomcd1949 » Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:13 pm

Those trees are dying already. The bark will rot off their trunks, then the rot will spread to the lower branches. The leaf production will be later in spring, fewer leaves will grow; they will not turn as pretty colors in the fall, and they will fall off sooner than they should. In four or six years they will be thin, leafless, lifeless sticks in the ground. And the homeowners association president will announce that a drought, or an early hard freeze, or some other cockamamey thing killed them. And they will allot funds to buy and plant more trees, and the next HOA officers will do exactly trhe same things, after the trees also do exactly the same thing.

Joe

Re: George in Cary, NC

Post by Joe » Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:54 am

Yuh, that's what I thought- and when I first saw the Walmart trees, 2-3 years ago- I thought the trees would soon show signs of dying back, but so far, they look terrific. I'll have to see what species they are- I suppose some species may be more tolerant of this abuse. It really is hard to imagine that any arborist firm would offer this "service" just to make an extra buck- selling mulch can't be that profitable- though maybe it is. And, even if some species can survive this abuse- it looks stupid. Of course, what do we expect from Walmart?
Joe

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pattyjenkins1
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Re: George in Cary, NC

Post by pattyjenkins1 » Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:48 am

It really is hard to imagine that any arborist firm would offer this "service" just to make an extra buck- selling mulch can't be that profitable- though maybe it is.
Joe--Landscapers, maybe, sell mulch, but I, too, would be surprised to hear of a tree service doing so. They'd have to store the mulch somewhere (and it's so bulky!) and then re-load it for delivery. That's an awful lot of work. The only reason to do it would be to avoid paying landfill fees to dump it, which in some localities can be pretty high. The tree services we know in Atlanta offer to give away mulch for free -- on the day they do a job. The key here is to check and see what was killing whatever went into the chipper before spreading it on the roots of another tree.
patty
Patty Jenkins
Executive Director
Tree Climbers International, Inc.
Get High / Climb Trees

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Don
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Re: George in Cary, NC

Post by Don » Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:53 am

It would appear from afar (ALaska), that this incident of "volcano" mulching is a rather localized practice, that with George's close supervision, would soon be curtailed. I've not seen such a practice anywhere in my travels in the Southwest, and West. I rather doubt that it's an ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) approved arborist practice...George should contact a prominent local ISA approved arborist and consult with them...I expect that resolve can be attained in such a fashion, in short order.
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

geomcd1949
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Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:05 pm

Re: George in Cary, NC

Post by geomcd1949 » Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:59 am

Don!

Your optimism is boundless! Google "volcano mulching" and you will find thousands of articles condemning the practice. The articles are necessary because, unfortunately, the practice is ubiquitous, and spreading rapidly. It is seen everywhere in North Carolina communities.

tclikesbigtrees
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Re: George in Cary, NC

Post by tclikesbigtrees » Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:58 am

As bad as that is for trees, there are other things that people do to trees that should not be done at all. People trim trees as if they were bushes. People top off trees. People cut branches off of trees and leave a couple inches or more on the tree. All of this is bad and I don't understand why anybody would do it, but I think the worst thing that I have seen is when the road department mows and takes the mower that is on an arm and mows on the trees and in the process rips the branches off. Unless people know exactly what should be done, I think people should just stay far away from any trees. I don't know if I feel better or not, but that is my rant for today.

Tom

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