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How to Properly Mulch Around Your Trees

How to Properly Mulch Around Your Trees

If you have an abundance of trees as part of your landscaping, you most likely have at least considered mulching around them. How do you do it? What are the do’s and don’ts of mulching trees?

We are going to give you an in-depth guide to mulching your trees safely, to keep them as healthy as possible.

First let’s consider why it’s a good idea.

Why Mulch Around Your Trees?

One of the benefits of mulching around your trees is that it keeps down weeds, which helps eliminate the competition for water. On top of that, a lot of the water that would be evaporated by the sun otherwise can be soaked into a two-inch layer of mulch down to the soil surrounding the tree roots.

Mulching trees will also help keep their roots cooler when the temperatures rise, and in some cases even helps prevent soil erosion.

For newly planted trees, adding mulch can help keep fungal spores and other diseases from infecting your tree. It also does a great job of protecting the trunk of the tree from lawn mowers and other tools as well.

What You Shouldn’t Do When Mulching

So what shouldn’t you do when mulching?

Don’t use too much mulch, or create a “mulch volcano.” Piling up your mulch in the shape of a volcano, and it involves using an excessive amount of mulch. You don’t want to do this because it causes water to run off the sides of the volcano and away from the base of the tree, depriving it of water.

Having over two or three inches of mulch creates a covering around the tree that is much too deep. The water that would normally reach the tree roots gets trapped in the inches of mulch.

Excessive mulching can also suffocate the roots, and end up killing your tree completely.

Steps to Properly Mulch Around Your Trees

Here are some steps to ensure the areas surrounding your trees are mulched safely and properly.

  1. Shovel away any rocks, excess dirt, or old mulch so that you can see the tree trunk.

  2. Cut away any roots growing up out of the ground with pruners. Roots that grow up far enough can wrap themselves around the base of the tree and kill it over time. Up-growing roots are a sign that a tree is starving for oxygen.

  3. Remove any grass and other weeds with a gardening claw or spade. Scrape the area surrounding the base of the tree to clear it out completely.

  4. Purchase a good medium-textured mulch. If it’s too fine, it can get compacted and starve the roots of the tree of oxygen.

  5. Spread the mulch in a 3-5 foot diameter around the tree. Spread it around in a thin layer, and ensure that the mulch doesn’t actually touch the tree itself. Leave an inch or two of space between the mulch and the base of the tree.

  6. Continue laying down mulch until it’s between 2 and 4 inches deep. Make sure not to pile it up into a hill, and keep it level around the tree.

  7. Create a barrier around your mulch-bed barrier with stones, wood, or even extra mulch.

    We hope this guide was helpful for the landscaping of your trees. With care and time, the mulched area will both look amazing and keep your trees safe and healthy for years and years to come.

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