Have you ever wondered why mulch is so important for tree care? Perhaps you’ve spread it without giving it much thought, or maybe you even decided not to buy mulch at all because you’re not sure of its purpose.
Don’t skip the mulching this year! Read through this guide to learn more about placing mulch and understand why it’s vital for tree health.
Understanding the Benefits of Mulch for Tree Care
If you take a walk through the forest, you’ll notice that there are no trees or plants growing straight out of the grass (as they would be placed on a lawn). There’s always dead plant matter, leaves, and sticks covering the ground. This natural version of mulch serves to insulate the tree’s roots and keep the ground moisturized.
The goal of mulching is to recreate this natural state to encourage growth, protect the roots from the elements, and ensure proper drainage of water. In your yard, you can similarly help the tree grow to its full potential by providing a layer of man-made organic matter, or mulch, in a circular area around its roots.
How to Place Mulch Properly
The first time you place mulch around a tree — whether the tree is a newly planted sapling or an older tree that needs more cover from the elements — it’s important to apply it in a ring around the tree that’s large enough to cover the root area. Usually, a circle of three to six feet is your best bet.
While it may be tempting to place six or eight inches of mulch to provide full coverage that you won’t have to replace often, two or three inches is optimal. Too little won’t protect your tree, while too much won’t drain quickly enough.
How Often To Add or Replace Mulch
Understanding how and when to replace mulch could save you from doing extra work later, and it will keep your trees healthier over time. While it’s possible to use gravel or rocks as a decorative cover, most mulch is made from organic matter like wood chips and compost. This means that it won’t last forever — it breaks down over time when exposed to the elements.
Don’t forget to inspect and replace your organic mulch on a regular basis to ensure good coverage for your tree. Replace your mulch if you notice these signs:
- Thinning: Your mulch layer looks much thinner than it did the year before. This simply means that it’s decaying over time, which is normal.
- Colour changes: Some types of natural, undyed mulch will look grayish after a while. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not doing its job — but you may want to apply more if you prefer a dyed-mulch look.
- Weeds: You can see weeds growing through the mulch. Sometimes this is normal, and a few plants can simply be plucked out of the mulch. If there are numerous weeds popping up, it’s likely time to add more mulch.
Some people replace their mulch every five to six years, while others prefer to stay on top of their tree health more closely and add small amounts more often. Depending on where you live and the climate of the area, you may need to replace or add to your mulch as often as every year. If you’re unsure about how much mulch to add or which type is right for your trees, contact us to determine the best schedule for your yard.
Get in Touch With Martin’s Tree Service
We can’t wait to show you how beautiful your trees and shrubs can look when provided with a fresh layer of mulch! If you need tree care assistance or help with other common yard-related tasks such as tree pruning services in waterloo, tree or stump removal, or stump grinding, contact Martin’s Tree Service today to request a quote.