What Mulch to Use for Trees

Why do people use mulch for their gardens? Some benefits to using mulch are weed control, better development of plants and better water absorption.

Mulches can stabilize soil temperature and help with the development of ornamentals. If you choose to use mulches, choose the kind that’s not easily washed away during watering. Make sure the mulch is rather loose so that nutrients and water can be absorbed quickly.

But what if you have trees in your garden? Is there a kind of mulch that works great on trees? If you’re looking for a proper mulch treatment for your trees, you can use wood chips. This type of mulch decomposes gradually, which makes sure that all the nutrients are taken in by the tree not in one go, but over time. Composted wood chips are great because they are durable and nutrient-rich.

Unfortunately, most of the wood chip mulches you will find in stores are not sold fresh but in a composted or aged state. These chips are easy to use, but you don’t have much control as far as age of the mulch and decomposition speed is concerned. Slower decomposition will lead to the flocking of soil microorganisms that might otherwise not be available for plant growth.

What you can do is to buy un-composted wood chips ahead of time and compost them yourself. Put them in a backyard composter along with some leaves, twigs and bark. Make sure to keep the whole thing well aired and turned to prevent bad smelling mulch.

The ideal mulching layer should be around 2- to 4-inches. Organic mulches decompose over time, which means they discharge tiny quantities of nutrients gradually for the plant to use. Coverage can be from 3 to 6 feet out from the base of the tree. It is recommended to keep the 1-2 inch area on the tree’s base free of mulch to prevent insects and excess moisture from accumulating.

Mulch shrubs in the same manner as trees. Observe the spacing between trees and shrubs, and vary the amount of mulch you use accordingly so that they don’t end up competing for the same nutrients that the mulch provides. These simple tips will help you maintain a tree garden easily.

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53 Responses to “What Mulch to Use for Trees”
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