Mulching Improves Tree Health and Longevity

Mulching is among the most beneficial things a homeowner may do to keep trees healthy. But over mulching may be among the worst landscaping mistakes you can create, causing substantial injury to trees alongside other plants. We asked our friends at Tuscaloosa tree service, and they helped inform us for this article. All things in moderation ought to be a homeowner’s mulching motto, says Jim Skiera, Executive Director of the International Society of Arboriculture. As valuable as mulch is, too much may be harmful in more ways than you.” . The generally recommended mulching depth is two to four inches, in agreement with the ISA. When applied correctly, mulch helps maintain soil humidity, control weeds, improve soil structure, and inhibit specific plant diseases.

Mulch also protects plants and trees from weed whacker injury and lawnmower blight as well as giving planting beds a uniform, well cared for look. But also much mulch-be it layers deep or piled against tree trunks might cause major difficulties for home owners, including: Excess humidity from the root zone, which causes plant stress and cause corrosion – Insect and disease issues – Micro nutrient deficiency or toxicity – Weed growth – Smelly planting beds, due to cardiovascular ailments and sour mulch – Habitat production for rodents which chew bark and girdle trees – Why mulch in any way? Urban landscapes are often severe environments with poor soil conditions, small organic matter, and large fluctuations in humidity and temperature – all unfriendly growing scenarios for trees.

A two to four inches layer of organic mulch can mimic a more natural environment for trees and enhance overall plant health. When mulching, Skiera says it’s significant to keep in mind that the root system of a tree isn’t a mirror image of its top. The roots of most trees extend out a substantial distance from the trunk. In addition, majority of the fine absorbent roots of trees are located within inches of the ground surface.”. These shallow roots are crucial for taking up water and minerals for trees, plus they need oxygen to survive, Skiera says. A thin layer of mulch, applied as widely as functional, can enhance the soil structure, oxygen levels, temperature, and humidity availability where these roots grow.

Mulching basics – To ensure the health of your plants and trees, follow these functional mulching tips to landscape like the pros: For well drained sites, apply a two to four inches layer of mulch. Don’t add mulch if there’s already a sufficient layer in place. Be mindful to the fact that some plants can benefit from the use of a slightly acidifying mulch like pine bark. Organic mulches are preferable for their soil improving properties. Be sure it’s well aerated and composted to avoid sour smelling mulch. Avoid using uncompacted wood chips which have been stacked deeply without exposure to oxygen. Use composted wood chips rather, particularly when they contain a mixture of leaves, bark, and wood. The International Society of Arboriculture, headquartered in Champaign, Ill., is a non-profit organization supporting tree care research around the globe.

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