Proper mulching of your trees and landscape is essential to the prolonged health and vigor of your plants. There are a variety of mulch products out there to choose from and it is important to understand the importance of mulching your trees and how to apply the mulch itself.
Trees in their natural environment grow in areas that have a natural occurrence of an annual litter fall. Whether they are in a forested setting or prairie setting, there is a natural cycle of leaf/organic litter on the ground that decomposes overtime to enrich the soil and supply the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. When we plant trees in an urban environment, there is commonly a lack of natural litter fall because we tend to clean up the litter fall as it falls. This results in an unnatural environment often leading trees and plants into stress and potentially decline. Hence, an application of a natural mulch product helps the tree to be more in it’s natural environment.
Natural mulch products are the best options when it comes to types of mulch to apply, because they will break down over time and supply essential nutrients to your trees and plants. Shredded hardwood mulches are a great option to utilize and they can come in a variety of consistencies and colors. Dyed mulches that are done with non-toxic dyes do not pose any problems to your plants nor your family or pets. Some benefits of hardwood mulches include increased soil moisture retention, sustaining healthy soil temperatures for healthy fine root growth, and mitigating soil compaction and mechanical damage (i.e. lawn mowers, weed whips, etc.).
Now that you have selected your mulch product, the next step is to apply it. As discussed, mulch is great for your trees and plants, but as with many things in life, the more mulch the better is not always true. About a 2”-3” layer of mulch is more than enough when applying around your tree or in your landscape beds. Always be sure not to pile the mulch up against the trunk or stems of your plants. Mulch does such a great job at sustaining soil temperatures that if you apply too much or pile it up, it can actually generate heat and “cook” your plants as well as their roots. Additionally, too mulch can create an ideal environment for unwanted pathogens such as fungus.
So, when it comes to how large of a mulch ring around your trees, ideal would be to the dripline of your tree, but that is not always reasonable or practical. The biggest thing to remember is to not have the depth of the mulch be more than 2”-3” as mentioned above. If your tree(s) is in a landscape bed, simply mulch the entire bed. If your tree(s) is in the lawn setting and you can’t do out to the dripline, then a minimum of 5’ radius around the tree.
There are many choices when it comes to mulch your trees and plants, but one to keep consistent is to keep it natural!
Learn about Kramer Tree Specialists mulch products and get started today –