Mulching

MULCHING: A TREE’S BEST FRIEND... OR ITS WORST ENEMY.

Trees are like people: they need food, water and shelter to survive. Thankfully, mulch can help provide all of these (for trees, of course!).

FOOD

Organic (i.e. made of biodegradable material, not rubber or plastic) mulch is an excellent source of food for a tree’s roots. Over time, mulch will decompose, improve the surrounding soil, and benefit the tree by providing nutrients.

WATER

When applied correctly, mulch can help direct water towards the tree’s root system and will also act as a barrier from evaporation and prevent the roots from drying out.

SHELTER

Mulch is a great security blanket for a tree. A layer of organic mulch will suppress weeds that attempt to grow up close to the tree and compete for nutrients. A ring of mulch around a tree’s trunk will prevent mowers and string trimmers from getting too close and causing damage. Mulch will also – literally – act as a blanket — an extra layer of insulation on top of the root system will help protect the tree from extreme temperatures.

HOW TO MULCH A TREE

The easiest way to remember how to mulch a tree is to follow the 3-3-3 rule: 3 feet wide, 3 inches deep, and 3 inches away from the trunk.

SAY ‘NO’ TO THE VOLCANO!

With mulch, a little goes a long way. Avoid piling a ‘volcano’ of mulch around the base of your tree — this is one of the easiest ways to jeopardize tree health!

Too much mulch will:

  • Retain too much water around the trunk, causing disease and decay (and ultimately tree death!)
  • Invite damage from insects and rodents
  • Smother roots — too much mulch inhibits necessary air flow necessary for growth
  • Cause girdling roots to grow, which essentially ‘choke’ the tree
  • Waste your hard earned dollars! Not only will you use more mulch than needed, but the money invested in your tree will sadly be lost if the tree does not survive.