Residential landscapes can be harsh environments for trees. One of the best ways to keep your trees healthy is to add mulch.
Mulch helps stabilize and create a natural environment for tree growth. It controls weeds and curbs the spread of tree diseases, and a properly applied layer of mulch also keeps the lawnmower and trimmer far enough away to avoid causing damage.
It’s really a delicate balance. However, don’t make the mistake of over-mulching because it can do more harm than good.
Follow these rules of thumb from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA):
- When applying mulch, the depth around a tree should be two to four inches. If there are drainage problems in your yard, a thin layer of mulch is suggested
- Avoid placing mulch right up against the tree trunk. This will discourage and keep pests at bay
- Mulch out to the tree’s drip line or beyond, if possible. The tree’s roots extend beyond that point. For more mature trees, it’s okay to mulch inside the dripline
- Organic mulch is preferred. Use wood chips or shredded bark mulch. They will decompose and improve the soil
- Mulch can be applied at any time of the year
By Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons