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Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Tree Mulching

From finding a fertilizer with the right balance of nitrogen, magnesium and calcium to picking a species that will thrive in your environment, you have many factors to consider when it comes to choosing and planting trees. When it comes to mulch, however, you might assume any variety will do.

Covering the ground around your newly-planted and mature trees with the right mulch for your environment and budget will ensure your trees thrive. Here are a few do’s and don’ts of tree mulching every homeowner should know.

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Do Learn About the Benefits of Mulch

If you’re considering skipping mulch to save money, think again. Mulch can save you money in the long run because of the benefits for your trees. Some of the advantages of mulch include:

  • Keeps the roots cool. The warm weather in Florida will wreak havoc on your trees. Mulch acts like an insulator that helps keep the root system cool.

  • Keeps weeds at bay. One of the biggest benefits of mulch is that is inhibits weed growth. In addition to being unattractive, weeds leech beneficial nutrients from the soil.

  • Provides your trees with nutrients. Organic mulches, such as compost, provide the soil around your trees with extra nutrients.

  • Retains moisture. Mulch helps keep moisture from evaporating too quickly, which is very beneficial for a thirsty root system.

There are two different types of mulch available: inorganic and organic. The type you choose is dependent upon your needs and budget.

For example, if you want a mulch that adds nutrients to the soil, choose an organic product. However, if this isn’t a consideration because you’re using a quality fertilizer or your yard features the ideal soil conditions for your vegetation, inorganic mulch, such as rocks or pebbles, is a good choice.

In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, rocks are a great option because they are great at preventing soil erosion, and because they don’t decompose, you won’t need to replace them as often.

Do Prepare the Soil Around Your Trees Before Laying the Mulch

Before you apply any mulch around your trees, prepare the soil to ensure you can take advantage of all the benefits of mulch. Here are the steps you need to take before you utilize either inorganic or organic mulch:

  1. Eliminate weeds. Begin by eliminating as many weeds as possible. In addition to helping prevent the weeds from taking nutrients from the ground, creating a smooth, weed-free surface will also help the mulch lay flat, and look more attractive.

  2. Create a smooth surface. Using a rake, create a smooth surface. Once again, this will help create an attractive, even layer of mulch.

  3. Apply landscaping fabric. Cut the landscaping fabric to fit and lay it around the perimeter of the tree if you are using inorganic mulch, such as rocks or stones. The landscaping fabric will help prevent weed growth. Do not use landscaping fabric under organic mulch. This will prevent the nutrients created by the decomposing mulch to leech into the soil.

Finally, install any edging or borders. Both these options are attractive, and they will help keep the mulch in place.

Don’t Create a Mulch Volcano Around Your Trees

A common mistake that many homeowners make is creating a large pile of mulch around their trees, otherwise known as a mulch volcano. Unfortunately, when you create a thick pile of mulch that touches the trunk, the mulch can do more harm than good, and may even cause the tree to become sick and perish.

The root flares, or the portion of the roots that are found above-ground, should never be covered by mulch. When any excess moisture is trapped in root flares, it leads to a condition called root rot. Excessive root rot can prevent the tree from effectively collecting and utilizing moisture.

Instead of creating a mulch volcano, spread the mulch in an even layer that is three to four inches deep. The mulch should be at least six inches away from the trunk to prevent root rot.

Don’t Forget to Maintain Your Mulch

Finally, after you’ve spread a beautiful layer of mulch around your trees, don’t forget to maintain it over the coming months. Remove any weeds immediately by hand or with a safe herbicide. An organic mulch should be replaced at least once or twice a year. Your rocks don’t need to be replaced and should instead be cleaned periodically to maintain their appearance.

The easiest way to clean inorganic mulch is by first removing any loose debris with a leaf blower. Clean off the rocks with a garden hose.

Placing a layer of inorganic or organic mulch around your trees can help keep them strong and healthy. If you have any more questions about maintaining your trees or how to mulch, contact the professionals at Pete & Ron’s Tree Service, Inc