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Mulch as if Your Tree's Life Depends On It
Published: 4/12/2023
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It's spring! We’re all getting out to spruce up our yards, and many are freshening up the mulch around trees, so PLEASE MULCH RESPONSIBLY. First, with an established tree, the primary benefit of mulch is to keep mowers and weed whippers away from the trunk, so a thick layer of mulch doesn’t accomplish much. A total layer of 1-2” of mulch, including old mulch, is sufficient, especially if the soil is bare or there is already mulch there. More than that will keep light rain from getting into the soil where the roots can use it. Second, you NEVER want mulch in contact with the trunk. It will hold moisture on the trunk longer than natural, possibly leading to fungus or disease. Third, if there is mulch up on the trunk, hiding the natural tree flare, REMOVE IT. Pull it away with your hands or a rake. Piled up mulch can kill the tree and cause the tree to create roots that encircle the tree, possibly choking if off as they and the tree get larger. See the attached video for how to fix a bad mulching situation. Following these steps will help your trees to lead a long, happy life, and save you money on mulch as well.