How Important is Mulching for Tree Health
Most of us have planted/cared for trees. However, most of us
are not aware of jus how important mulching is for the tree’s root system.
Think about your last walk through the forest. Did you notice all the organic
matter covering the forest floor? Leaves, twigs, rotten wood, etc. This is the
mulch for the trees in the forest, but your urban trees require a similar mulch
to provide nutrients to the soil and reduce compaction.
Trees native to heavily forested areas are well adapted to
having tons of organic matter covering their root systems. Therefore their trees
roots are very shallow – 6 to 12 inches and the organic mulch helps the trees to
survive. Tree roots do best in moist, cool conditions and with plenty of
oxygen, which a good layer of mulch will provide.
The conditions for urban trees are much different. The trees
planted in your yard usually do best in a forest setting, but we generally
plant them in the middle of grass lawns. Much of the time sunlight shines on
the soil above the tree’s root system which decreases the moisture and
increases the soil temperature. In addition the grass is competing for the
Your mulch bed should extend a minimum of 3’ from your
tree’s trunk in all directions. Mulch can be anything organic, but the best
ones are rather coarse and woody. Ground bark or wood chips work well. Your mulch
bed should be 4 to 6 inches deep and you need to maintain that..
You can do your mulching during planting time, and at the
same time mulch your mature trees. Spread a deep layer of mulch right over any grass
that’s there as the mulch will smother the grass. Make mulching a regular part
of your tree care. If you aren’t up to it, then call a tree care company to