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Not recommended

If turf grass grows up to the trunk, trees often perform poorly (Watson and Green, 1989). Turf and weeds rob trees of moisture and nutrients, and some produce chemicals that inhibit tree growth.

Too little mulch

Never pile mulch in a volcano-like manner against the trunk. This cuts off oxygen to roots, can keep vital irrigation and rain water out, can keep roots too wet in poorly drained soils, and can rot the trunk. Some rodents, such as voles, can also cause damage to the trunk easily if mulch is piled there. Trees could decline from this problem.

"Volcano" mulch pile around tree trunk

See: More on problems caused by over-mulching.