Mulching Guide For Landscape Trees

Mulch isn't just for your flower gardens. It provides many benefits when placed around the trees in your yard. These benefits include helping to conserve water in the soil, reducing weed competition, and insulating the soil against extreme temperatures. 

Mulch Types

There are a variety of different types, but when it comes to your trees there are only two that you generally need to worry about. First, you need a feeding mulch. This can be standard compost, such as garden compost, or you can opt for leaf mold, chicken manure, or mushroom compost for a different nutrient profile. The feeding mulch provides some standard mulch benefits, such as helping to retain moisture, but more importantly, it provides instantly available nutrients to the soil.

On top of this goes a protective mulch. Wood chips are the most commonly used option. Pine straw is another excellent option, particularly around evergreens or other tree varieties that prefer slightly acidic soil. The protective mulch doesn't just conserve the soil moisture, it also helps suppress weed growth around the tree. It provides nutrients more slowly over time as it decomposes, as well. 

Application Timing

When to apply mulch is just as important as choosing which type to apply. Generally speaking, you want a good mulch layer in place before weeds begin to grow. For this reason, consider applying the mulch following your regular tree trimming in late winter or early spring. This provides a nutrient boost to help the tree along as it comes out of dormancy while also insulating the soil and suppressing weeds.

A second application may be needed in the fall, just as the leaves start to turn. There's no need for a feeding mulch at this time. Instead, refresh the heavier protective mulch so that it can insulate the roots against rapid temperature fluctuations as the cold weather arrives.

Helpful Tips

Mulching trees will protect the majority of the root zone for most tree varieties, although your tree service can provide more specific guidance for your climate and tree types. 

Using a raised border strip around the mulch will prevent it from washing out into the yard. It's also a good idea to pull the mulch away from the trunk so it doesn't actually touch the tree. Otherwise, moisture in the mulch can be trapped against the trunk, which can lead to rot issues. 

Contact a mulch delivery service, such as Smitty's Tree Service Inc, to learn more.