How to Properly Mulch Your Tree

A Tree Lover’s Guide to Earth Month
Protecting Trees from Construction

Proper mulching is one of the most important things you can do to care for your trees. It keeps the soil from drying out and helps regulate the temperature of the soil. A good ring of mulch around your trees helps keep lawnmowers and string trimmers from getting too close to your trees, and it ensures that the tree’s roots don’t have to compete with grass for water. Adding mulch around your tree will improve the quality of the soil as it decomposes and provides organic matter. The mulch will eventually turn into soil. Replace it when it decomposes (once a year is a good practice). Ideally, you should keep a ring of mulch around your trees out to the drip line of the tree.

The best mulch is arborists’ wood chips or shredded hardwood mulch. Skip the dyed mulch and never use rubber “mulch” (that is not really mulch). Both of these add unnecessary chemicals to your soil and rubber mulch will not decompose into soil. When applying mulch, spread it into a 2-3 foot radius around the tree, make a layer 2-3 inches deep, and keep it 2-3 inches away from trunk. No mulch volcanoes! Don’t cover the root flare, also known as the root collar, which is where the trunk of a tree meets the roots. Burying the root collar with mulch or soil will slowly kill your tree.

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