It’s Summer, 2013 and I’d like to talk about mulch
Taking care of the trees in your yard takes careful thought and a watchful eye, and a few loads of mulch for good measure. Mulching your trees creates happy, healthy plants able to resist disease and pests and makes for a more comfortable, attractive outdoor space. Think about how these five benefits of mulching your trees would help to protect and improve your landscape.
# 1 – Mulch Reduces Weeds
Mulch blocks sunlight from reaching the soil around your trees, effectively suppressing weed growth. Weeds, as well as grass at the base, rob your trees of much needed moisture and nutrients, and take time and effort to remove. Reduce the amount of weeds with a generous layer of mulch.
# 2 – Mulch Maintains Moisture in the Soil
Help keep roots well watered with 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch spread around the base of your trees. Be sure to cover the whole root system, which often stretches beyond the “drip line” which is the outermost edge of your largest branches as they extend from the trunk.
# 3 – Mulch Adds Nutrients to the Soil
Organic mulches, such as wood chips or shredded bark, decompose over time, improving soil conditions with additional nutrients. Inorganic mulches (such as rubber chips or rocks) block weeds and maintain moisture levels, but will not breakdown and give your soil a nutrient boost. Whenever you can, feed your tree!
# 4 – Mulch Insulates Tree Roots
Use mulch to protect the roots of young saplings and older specimens. Temperature swings in the early spring and late fall can easily harm trees, while a layer of mulch keeps soil warm and impervious to frost.
# 5 – Mulch Makes the Garden Tidy
Clean up the base of your trees with mulch. Use organic mulch around trees and around perennials and annuals planted nearby and you can find different barks and fibrous mulches in colors that will contrast attractively with your gardens.
A Quick Note on Doing it Right
When applying mulch, bear in mind that you want to protect rather than smother your tree roots and avoid piling up the mulch against the tree and shrub woody stems. If you think your mulch job looks like a large volcano with a tree coming out of the center, that’s your clue to dial it down. Ideally, you want to have the ability for the mulch layer to hold water for a brief time as it soaks down into the ground and a very shallow moat type design will be better for that. Too deep a trough, and you can leave it too wet. Sort of like the story of Goldilocks, isn’t it?
Mulching your trees is a good idea and provides various benefits to your property. Talk to your tree specialist about the mulches available in your area.