Proper Tree Mulching

Fall is an excellent time to give a little extra care to your trees. Mulching in the fall is a great way to boost the health of your trees by providing valuable nutrients and helping insulate soil from extreme temperatures. When it comes to mulching remember, that a little really does go a long way.

Too much mulch is not good and can be detrimental to a tree’s health. Two to four inches of organic mulch is sufficient to sustain trees. Mulch deeper than two to four inches can cause compaction and greatly reduces air penetration into the soil having a negative impact on the tree’s overall health.

Consumers should be careful when selecting mulch. Organic hardwood is preferred and will offer the most benefits to trees. Other available types of wood mulch such as cypress mulch may have been gathered using unsustainable techniques and is not recommended. Dyed mulch can sometimes come from less than desirable sources such as treated pallets and may put harmful chemicals into the soil. An easy and cost effective source of mulch this time of year is the leaves on the ground.

Mulch should be pulled away from the trunk to prevent rot caused by holding water at the base of the trunk. Mulch at the trunk also encourages insects or burrowing animals to nest and eventually chew at the base or burrow into the base of the tree. Chewing and burrowing can girdle a tree which will eventually lead to the tree’s death.

Please do not “volcano mulch” which refers to mulching a high ring around the tree and to the base of the tree. This method of mulching is not best practice and will eventually cause a variety of problems for the tree which will lead to an unhealthy tree or the loss of the tree.

Proper mulching can be very beneficial to your trees by providing nutrients to the soil, insulation, and weed control. Just remember a little goes a long way.