Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Tree Care: Mulching

So far in our summer tree care blog series, we have covered watering, pruning and careful gardening. Today’s topic is an issue of surprisingly growing concern for all tree care-takers: mulching.

When applied properly, mulch can greatly benefit your trees by:
  • Controlling weeds and grass
  • Maintaining moisture in the soil and keeping your tree hydrated
  • Protecting the roots and trunk from mowers and other lawn maintenance tools
Unfortunately, poor mulching techniques - namely the “volcano” - have recently been popping up all over the District. Improper mulching techniques can lead to rotted roots, dead bark tissue, insect problems and imbalances in the soil’s pH levels.

Improper volcano mulching (left) versus proper mulching technique (right).

Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind when mulching your tree:
  • Use organic mulch. While inorganic mulch is sometimes useful for soil protection, organic materials are best when mulching trees. Shredded bark, leaf compost, and composted wood chips all work well.
  • Remember the 3-3-3 Rule. Create a ring of mulch around your tree, 3 inches deep in a 3-foot radius from the trunk, making sure to leave a 3-inch space right around the tree trunk.
  • Avoid volcanoes. Don’t pile the mulch against the trunk of your tree. When you’re finished, the mulch should look more like a doughnut than a volcano. 

    For more summer tree care tips, tune in to Tree Talk Thursday today from noon to 1 p.m. 

      1 comment:

      Jeff said...

      Great information. A lot of my customers have wondered why just dumping mulch, or as you put it, the volcano, seems to lead to a dying tree. Keep up the good posts!