How to Properly Mulch Around Your Trees

Mulching is an important step to retaining soil moisture and channeling more rainfall into the soil. The right quantity of mulch will slow and prevent weed growth. As an added bonus, a new layer of mulch can make your yard look sharp. Follow these guidelines before spreading mulch in your yard and around your trees:

Don’t Mound Your Mulch
Applying too much mulch around your trees is not only unnecessary but also increases the risk of pests and disease. When mulch is improperly mounded around a tree trunk, called a “mulch volcano”, it creates a warm humid environment. This environment is ideal for insects and diseases to thrive, which ultimately can put your tree at great risk.

When spreading mulch don’t pile it against tree bark. Apply the mulch evenly around the base of the tree. The mulch should be flat and a few inches from the trunk of the tree. Properly planted trees will develop a characteristic root flare near ground level. Mulching around the base of the tree can bury the root flare, and it can create a lack of stability for the tree when it comes to weather. Mulch volcanoes can result in cankers, tree splitting, disease, decay, insect infestation, root rot, and death of the tree in extreme situations.

Don’t spread it too thick
Spreading mulch thick can cause a variety of problems. If the mulch is too thick, it can absorb rainwater and prevent it from entering the ground to get to the roots. Make sure you remove your mulch from the previous year and move it around to add space where moisture can penetrate into the soil.

In regards to mulch thickness, it depends on which type is being used. Three to four inches of mulch is recommended by landscape experts. Some types of mulches, such as buckwheat hulls, will break down over winter and convert to soil. Other types of mulch, such as shredded, do not break down over the seasons and need to be removed before adding a new layer.

Choose the right texture
Finely textured mulch is more effective at suppressing weeds than coarsely textured mulch that has pieces that are greater than one inch in diameter. Small plants can look tiny when surrounded by large chunks of mulch. Use mulch that is available in your area. Make sure you match the texture of the mulch with the size and type of plants you are surrounding. The color of the mulch should bring more attention to the plant, not to bring attention to itself. Brown mulch looks like soil and works with any type of plant or shrub.

Contact Hometown Tree Experts if you have any questions about mulching. Call us at (301) 250-1033 to schedule a complimentary tree estimate or consultation.