A common landscaping element used in properties all around the Charleston region is trees with mulch around their base. While mulching trees looks nice, it actually has a practical purpose, and mulching helps to keep your tree protected while giving it its best opportunity for quality growth. There are many different mulches to choose from, and some organic mulches can provide this extra layer of protection while also enriching the quality of the soil.
Mulch is a soil covering, not typically part of the soil itself, and it actually protects trees and plants quite a bit. A few roles for mulch include:
- Soil insulation to protect roots from exposure to harsh sun or cold.
- Barrier between weeds and plants to avoid root competition.
- Retaining water to lock-in much needed soil moisture.
With the important roles that mulch takes on, it’s simple to see the benefit it provides to landscapes in general. Specific to trees, mulching also helps to provide a barrier against lawn mower damage and soil compaction that could have an effect on the health of the tree’s roots.
How To Mulch Your Trees
In order to get the most out of your mulch and your efforts, properly mulching your trees will require a few steps. First, you’ll want to start out by clearing any grass away from the base of the tree in an area ranging from 3 feet to 10 feet, depending on the size of the tree and its roots. If you have a small tree now that will grow into a larger tree, consider the current size rather than the projected one, and grow the ring of mulch as needed. Clearing this patch of grass will help to place the mulch directly onto the soil, and will remove any weeds that could be lurking in the grass cover.
Next, look for mulch at your local garden center that matches your preferred look. You could also consider organic mulches that enrich soils which lack nutrients, but this isn’t usually required when mulching trees as it may be when mulching flowerbeds or other areas. Fill in the ring with a layer of mulch anywhere from 2 inches to 4 inches deep, and keep the mulch ring from directly touching the trunk of the tree. When mulch directly covers a tree’s trunk, it can leave it susceptible to rot, suffocation, or girdling, as it covers parts of the tree that require exposure to proper airflow.