We've touched on the topic of mulching before and with spring wanting to show itself early, we thought we should share some DIY tips for mulching around those newly planted trees and even the established ones!
Mulching is popular among arborists because it provides many benefits to your yard and trees. Beyond lending a polished look to your landscaping, proper mulching can also contribute to healthy tree growth. Once applied, it offers extra protection from extreme temperatures and helps to retain moisture, so you don’t have to water as often. Then, as it breaks down, the mulch releases nutrients into the soil that help to feed the tree. Mulching also creates a sort of safe zone around your tree, preventing other plants and weeds from growing too close and competing for nourishment, as well as preventing damage from lawn maintenance tools like lawn mowers and weed whackers.
Even with these incredible benefits, if mulching isn’t done right, it can do more harm than good. Most people go wrong by “volcano mulching,” meaning that they pile their mulch high around the base of the tree, letting it come right up against the trunk and cover the root flare. This literally suffocates the tree, which gets much of its oxygen through its roots. The lack of oxygen can eventually damage the tree beyond repair.
So what is the proper method for applying mulch? There are a few steps:
Clear the area – Before applying mulch, clear away anything growing immediately around the tree trunk. This space can have a radius of several feet, depending on the size of the tree and its root system. A good rule of thumb is to spread the mulch out as far as the tree’s branches reach.
Select a type of mulch – There’s a variety of materials used for mulching, and each offers a different set of advantages and drawbacks. You can talk to a certified arborist for help deciding what kind of mulch is right for you and your tree. Remember that you don’t want mulch to be too fine (it can get compacted and keep water and oxygen out) or too coarse (it can let too much air and water through, failing to insulate or hold moisture for the tree).
Apply mulch – Don’t build a mulch volcano around your tree! Instead, apply an even layer about 2-4 inches deep, leaving space around the trunk so that the root flare is exposed to the open air. Replenish the mulch each year as it breaks down into the soil, always being careful not to let it get too deep or too close to the trunk.
Call your tree service experts today at Southeastern Tree Removal for any questions about the needs of your trees.