Mulch applied too thickly can cause problems. A wood-derived mulch may undergo high temperature decomposition causing it to dry out. The mulch may then be colonized by fungi that create water repellent conditions throughout the mulch. Water is unable to penetrate the mulch and reach the soil and plants fail to receive adequate moisture. Mulching too deeply can also cause the soil to remain continuously wet contributing to root and stem rot problems in addition to depriving plants of needed oxygen. Apply a mulch layer no more than 1 to 3 inches thick.