Mulch is extremely beneficial to the health of a tree for a multitude of reasons. Proper mulching of your trees and landscape beds will help prolong your plants as well as enhance your landscape.
There are many types of mulch a consumer can choose from. How do you know which one to choose? The answer to that question is dependent upon what you are looking to achieve in your landscape. Just remember, any type of natural mulch around your tree is better than no mulch. Wood and leaf mulches are some of the most common types of mulch out there. Within the wood mulches, you have natural wood mulches and dyed wood mulches. Natural wood mulches are a finely shredded mulch with a dark brown color. Dyed mulches tend be a bit larger pieces (not significantly larger) and are actually dyed with a colorant. Properly dyed mulches do not pose a threat regarding toxicity to humans, animals, or the surrounding plants. Dyed mulches tend to hold their color longer than a natural mulch and can be purchased in a variety of colors – red, brown, black, etc. Dyed mulches are a great choice if you are looking to accentuate the plants within your landscape. Black mulch up against a light colored house with vibrant plants, will significantly accentuate your landscape.
Leaf mulch is a great product to lay down on your landscape at the end of the growing season, although it can be utilized during the growing season as well. Laying it down at the end of the season will help insulate your plants over the winter and provide nutrients in the spring as it breaks down and incorporates into the soil. It can also be worked into an existing soil to help enhance the fertility of the soil.
After selecting your mulch, a homeowner then needs to apply the mulch. A good rule thumb for applying mulch is to place in a ring form around the tree (at least 3′ radius) and no deeper than 3″-4″. The mulch should be even across the ring, meaning do not mound the mulch up against the trunk of the tree. In landscape beds, you would simply apply the mulch evenly throughout the bed.
To learn more about mulch and how to apply it, visit our mulch products page. There you can learn about more benefits that mulch provides for your trees, how to apply it, how much you will need, and the different mulch products that we have to offer.
If you ever have questions on any of our mulch products or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Good luck selecting and applying your mulch!
Paul Filary, Illinois Certified Arborist, Kramer Tree Specialists, Inc.