Mulching 101

May 8, 2023

Mulching your tree can be very beneficial for many reasons. Applying mulch around the base of your tree can maintain moisture, reduce compaction and competition from weeds and grass as well provide important organic matter to improve soil structure. The different types of organic mulch that are most commonly used are wood chips, pine needles and shredded bark. Inorganic mulches consist of stone, lava rock and other materials. These mulches are not ideal as they do not decompose and add nutrients or help to decompact the soil.

There are many misconceptions when is comes to applying mulch. Ultimately the mulch is there for the health of the tree, aesthetic and landscaping should be a secondary concern.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is called “volcano mulching”. This is the practice of piling the mulch up around the trunk of the tree. This over mulching technique reduces water availability especially to smaller trees, it can also restrict oxygen absorption and cause root rot. Is also increases the risk of fungal infections and can create a place for insects to hide and thrive. Mulch should be wide spread under the tree and not placed up against the stem. It should only be approx. 2-4 inches deep.

Although dyed mulch has become a very popular trend it is not ideal for providing for your tree. These mulches then to come from repurposed wood. Not knowing where the source of these mulches can be concerning. They may have previously been treated with unwanted chemicals that you do not want to contaminate the soil and can eventually can be absorbed by your tree. Organic nontreated mulch is usually the best option.

If you have any questions about mulching please let us know!