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The rules are plentiful when it comes to proper gardening techniques and caring for trees. And do majority of lawn owners actually follow the rulebook? Well, it differs. It is a thin line between caring for trees and overdoing it. Little do many tree owners realize what a big mistake it is when they overdo even the smallest of any tree care technique. A common example of a mistaken benefit- Tree Mulching! This process is extremely beneficial for a tree’s health, especially when the weather isn’t kind enough. However, when done with little care, the results could get hazardous. Here is a quick look on the importance of tree mulching and the best ways to undertake the procedure.

What is mulching?

Mulching is applying layers of organic or inorganic waste material (usually woodchip, leaves, compost mixes, etc.), around the tree’s trunk. The manner in which this layer is applied is important in order to reap the fullest effect.

Benefits of tree mulching

  • Most importantly, this protective layer around the root area helps to retain the moisture content of the soil and keeps the trunk base cool.
  • The mulch effectively insulates the tree root region from extreme exposure to the sun or snow. The root collar area is crucial for the tree’s healthy sustenance and respiration. Providing the optimal temperature to carry out these processes will be taken care of by mulching.
  • Soil biological processes can be promoted with tree mulching. The organic mulch supports soil aeration, increases soil fertility as the mulch decomposes, controls weed germination and growth, inhibits tree diseases (especially those that target the roots).
  • Mulch provides a physical barrier around the tree trunk, guarding it from any likely injuries or tree damage from weed whackers or lawn mower blight.

How to apply mulch properly? Points to remember:

  1. The type of mulch for the particular landscape must be chosen wisely depending on the soil drainage capacity of the area. This would determine whether your tree requires inorganic mulch, organic mulch, acidifying mulch, etc.
  2. 2 to 4 inch (5 to 10 cm) layer of mulch is ideal for application. The mulch can extend up to the edge of the tree’s crown or beyond.
  3. Always remember, the base of the tree trunk and root collar must be exposed even when the mulch is applied. If you are simply piling mulch against your tree’s trunk, you are suffocating the tree and welcoming a whole new set of troubles. Volcano mulching will hold moisture against the tree roots and trunks and set of root rot and root decay.
  4. Organic mulch has to be replenished at least few times each year to keep a check on its depth and nutrient value. The denser the mulch, the more difficult it gets for sunlight and water to penetrate.
  5. Inorganic mulches are also available; stones, lava rock, pulverized rubber, geotextile fabrics, etc. While they provide protection, they lack nutrients. You probably cannot expect additional benefits to the soil through them. Consult with your arborist or a tree service company to know which type of mulch would better suit your landscape conditions and tree’s structure and nature.

Does your lawn or yard look clean swept with trees mulched? If not as yet, we suggest it is time that you consider mulching for good tree health, apart from the beautification the process provides. Before you make a start, research into the type of mulch your tree and soil require. If you are a resident of Austin, give us a call at Value Tree Service for consultation and estimation.

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