Mulch around bushes

My old landscaper told me that adding mulch around my bushes would kill the bushes. Is this correct? After five years I need to add more soil to the area where my bushes are (near my patio) as the rain has washed a good amount of it away. Should I just add soil and forget about the mulch?
Thank you,
Javier
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Hard to evaluate this claim without knowing what he had in mind. Too thick a layer of mulch can be a problem, as the roots get buried (for example, 12 inches a year, every year, is too much). And there are differing schools of thought about mulches. But there's nothing about mulching that it can only be done when the plant is first planted.

If the roots are being exposed, then you should definitely cover them. Either soil or mulch would work but I'd lean towards some kind of organic matter (composted leaves, shredded pine bark for acid loving plants like azaleas, maybe hardwood mulch for alkaline loving plants depending on your current soil pH), to improve the structure and fertility of the soil. Or a mixture of soil and organic matter.
Some kind of short retaining wall (for example, a row of bricks or cinder blocks or whatever), or some such measure, may prevent the new soil from washing away like the old did.
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Jim Kingdon said:

Not really. If you /must/ cover them, use a light mulch only (not soil). If they've been exposed for any length of time, it's best to leave them as is.
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What kinds of bushes, and where do you live?
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I'm in Teaneck, NJ. I don't yet know the types of bushes, this is all new to me. Are there any sites that can help me figure out the type of bushes that I have?
Javier
JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

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How about posting some nice, clear digital pictures, including some closeups at a site like www.photobucket.com ? It's free. Then, post the links here so we can check out the pictures. In addition, you could have prints made and take them to a real garden center and ask them. Your landscaper made a statement which MAY be true for some plants, but certainly not for all of them.

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Thanks, I'll take some pictures Monday and post them. Sorry it took me so long to answer, my little girtl has been sick for a a few days and I was on daddy duty.
Javier
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Public library.
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Any plants will benefit from an organic mulch. Protects roots, conserves water, supplies nutrients. I guess it's possible to kill a plant using too much mulch, using a mulch that can not breathe or using a mulch that contains harmful chemicals.
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Improper Mulching can hurt and injure your woody shrubs- http://home.ccil.org/~treeman/sub3.html and http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/M/ Look up "Mulch"
So can improper pruning. Improper Pruning http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/tree_pruning
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.

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Javier wrote:

Derryl
Calgary
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Dunno, can't see the history and cause of the soil erosion from here.
"Mulch" has 3 definitions.
I would, without looking at it, and assuming the erosion cause has been corrected: add the appropriate amount of topsoil and dress with some highly biodegradable mulch. Dave
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