Placing mulch around your trees has many benefits, including water retention in the soil, regulation of soil temperature and providing nutrients. However, if you place mulch carelessly you could end up causing more harm than good to your trees. To get the best mix combination of tree benefits and harm avoidance, follow these three steps:
1. Choose the Right Material
There are a number of different materials. Medium-textured mulch made of natural materials is the best option for your trees. A medium-texture will give the best combination of water-porosity and resistance to quick breakdown. The best options for trees include: Hardwood bark and chips: Readily available, inexpensive mulch that provides nutrients and is long-lasting. A downside of hardwood mulches is that they can increase the alkalinity of soil when they break down Pine bark nuggets: Another readily available natural mulch, that provides nutrients and is relatively inexpensive. Keep in mind that most colorful mulches have dye in them. While their color might look nice, it is best for the environment (including your plants) if you choose non-dyed mulch.
Some nice, natural-looking hardwood mulch.
2. Place the Mulch in the Correct Location
Place mulch around the tree to a distance of at least 3 feet. The further you extend the mulch ring, the better for your trees. Mulching to a further extent will further improve conditions for your trees. Do not place mulch against the base of the tree. If mulch is against the tree for an extended period of time, it can lead to fungal, disease and oxygen issues
3. Place Mulch at a Proper Depth
You should place mulch to a depth of 3-5 inches. Make sure to add additional mulch on an occasional basis to make sure than your entire mulch layer hasn’t broken down. (likely yearly for trees) basis.