How to properly mulch a tree.


Why place mulch around a tree?

The purpose of mulch is to retain moisture to get your trees through
dry weather. Mulching the root zone insulates the roots from excessive
heat and cold. It also prevents the tree from exiting or entering
seasonal dormancy to soon. Of course it also looks nice and over time
will add nutrients to the soil.

Adding a large circle of mulch around the base of the tree creates a
safe zone that will help prevent damage from lawn mowers and other
power equipment like string trimmers. It also discourages foot traffic
which compacts the soil. Lastly, by not having grass below the tree the
roots have less competition for water and nutrients which makes for a
happier and healthier tree.




Recycled Yard Waste


What kind of mulch should I use?

The simple answer is most anything that is organic. Yard waste such as
clippings, leaves or needles from shrubs or smaller plants is
preferable. You can, of course, use the leaves from the tree just as
nature intended. If you prefer to spend money on mulch use something sustainable.

Obviously, don’t use cypress mulch!


Volcano Mulch


Improper mulching techniques.

Volcano mulching -  While mountains are a thing of beauty, mulch mountains have no place in your yard. The purpose of mulch is to protect the root system of the tree, not the trunk. Mulch against the trunk will retain excessive moisture which can rot the bark and lead to disease.

Too much mulch will also prevent water from getting to the root system. 

Properly Mulched Tree

Properly Mulched Tree


Proper mulching techniques.

To properly mulch the root system lay a 3-4” thick layer of mulch around the circumference of the tree. Spread it out evenly with a rake. Remember, deeper is not better. Too deep and it can lead to rot or prevent moisture from reaching the root system.

Plan on using about 6 cubic feet of mulch (3 bags) for a medium sized tree. The mulch should cover as much area as possible to protect the roots. A circle with a 36”- 48” radius out from the tree is a safe bet and will look the most natural. Don’t forget to keep the mulch a couple of inches away from the trunk to prevent rot.