While a tree needs mulch to survive, given the protection and nutrients it provides, too much of it can be a hazard to its health. Knowing how to apply mulch properly helps a tree grow naturally, keeps out weeds, prevents soil compaction, and helps it weather extreme conditions as best as possible. Here’s how to apply mulch to benefit tree health.
Before applying mulch, make sure soil drainage is adequate and ensure accompanying plants will not be affected once it’s applied. Remove any grass within a 3-10-foot area from your tree’s base and cut away any roots using a hand pruner. You should also use a shovel to remove any old mulch surrounding the tree in question, as well as use a compressed-air excavation tool to help expose the root flare. Root flares are conduits for tree trunks, thickening and emerging above ground to help merge trunks with underground roots. This is crucial to nutrient flow, so make sure the root flare isn’t covered with soil and are free of girdles, so it gets the exposure it needs.
Don’t Go Too Deep
Apply a 2-4-inch-deep layer of mulch within the circular base, or 5-10-inch layer of soil if the drainage isn’t up to par. Natural mulch such as composted or fresh wood chips, as well as bark pieces can be used. Make sure mulch is not applied a few inches from the trunk out to the drip line. Avoid ‘volcano mulching’ at all costs, meaning piling up mulch in a volcano shape to the tree’s bark, or else you will erupt once you see your tree’s condition after a while. Piling mulch against a tree’s trunk is also a no-no as it can lead to root-rot and deny water and air penetration, so ensure you create that bit of space when applying it.
Check Existing Mulch
If mulch has already been applied and it is sufficient, check the depth, break up any layers that are too thick and use a rake to clear up the tree’s appearance. If you notice mulch piled up against stems and tree trunks, pull it back several inches, so the tree’s base is exposed.
Follow these mulching methods, and your tree will be in tip-top shape going forward. For expert tree advice, contact Jackson Tree Service today to help you with tree removal, trimming and more. Your yard will look better for it.