5 Tips for Using Wood Mulch
A healthy tree is a happy tree. And a healthy tree makes for a good-looking yard. However, not everybody knows how to take good care of a tree. That’s why we’re here to tell you to look no further than wood mulch. Those who have used mulch on their trees or shrubs undoubtedly know what I’m talking about. It can help to prevent some of the most common issues with your trees, including things like preventing soil erosion, deterring the growth of weeds, and retaining moisture.
But it’s not always just having mulch for your tree. It’s also about having the right type of mulch. One of the most popular choices among professional gardeners and tree owners is wood mulch. It’s easy to obtain and often a sustainable choice, considering that you’re using these former trees to support the next generation. It’s a smart choice, but it’s also an aesthetically pleasing choice because of how it helps increases the appeal of residential neighborhoods.
Here at Mr. Tree Services, we’re firm believers in the use of wood mulch to keep your trees healthy, as long as it’s used correctly. So the more you know about wood mulch, the better equipped you’ll be to take good care of your trees. Here are a few tips for using wood mulch that will greatly improve the life of your trees.
Don’t Use Too Much
When you’re distributing organic matter like wood chips around your tree, it may seem like you can do no wrong. It’s natural and full of nutrients that will help your tree thrive. So won’t laying as much of it on as you can only contribute to that health?
No, it won’t.
When you’re distributing your mulch, the depth of it can either help or hurt your tree. While placing a lot of mulch around your tree may seem like a good idea, it can actually create the opposite effect by suffocating the tree. If you’re questioning how much mulch to put around your tree, “less is more” is a safe concept. You should aim for mulching around three inches deep or less. This allows enough wood mulch to surround your tree and provide it with the benefits but without suffocating it.
Don’t Mulch Too Closely to Tree Trunks
Using wood mulch can be beneficial for your trees but not if it isn’t placed properly. When you get too close to the tree trunk, a cone that is known as “volcano mulching” will form. This will also suffocate your tree.
Volcano mulching leaves the base of the trunk completely covered, which gives it no access to light and over-exposes the trunk to moisture. This moisture weakens the tree and provides an inviting atmosphere for pests and disease to wreak havoc. This is one of the most common ways that people unknowingly kill their trees.
So make sure to start your mulching farther away from the trunk. Leave a minimum of three inches between the mulch and the base of the tree.
Make Sure to Replenish the Mulch
After you finish mulching with wood mulch for the first time, you’ll probably feel pretty proud. Your tree will look good, and you’ll know you’re providing it with mulch that will aid in its health. But it takes more than one mulching to keep your tree going strong.
Replenishing the mulch every once in a while will keep your tree healthy, ensuring that it’s still doing its job effectively. Over time, mulch will start to dry out and lose the nutrients it provides for your trees. How can you tell that your mulch is getting old? Discoloring. When you notice that it’s starting to look dull and dry, you should add another layer.
The best time to replenish your mulch is during mid- to late spring. And if your mulch begins looking dull in the early to mid-summer, add an inch onto the top layer. This will revive its visual appeal while also giving it more health benefits.
Remove All the Mulch Every Five or Six Years
Wood mulch can last for up to 10 years on your ground, sometimes longer. And though some of the mulch will decompose during the year, not all of it does. After re-mulching multiple times a year for many years, your mulch will start to create a barrier that can be filled with disease and harmful to the tree. It can also become so tightly packed that water and nutrients aren’t able to reach the roots.
This is why at least every five to six years you should replace your mulch altogether. Though this can be a much harder process than just re-mulching, it’s a smart choice. It gives your tree a chance to breathe and allows the new mulch to have a fresh start. It also helps to maintain a generally loose composition.
Know When It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Your Tree
Wood mulch can be a great addition to your lawn. There are so many benefits when it’s done the right way. But mulch can only do so much. When your tree is beyond repair and showing severe signs of decay or disease, even an organic matter like wood mulch won’t be able to save it or reverse the damage.
A tree can begin dying long before it starts showing signs of it. And when a tree is dead, it can quickly become a danger to have on your property. Your best bet is to have it removed professionally by a tree service company like Mr. Tree. The risk of it falling or breaking off and causing damage to your home or property only increases as the tree continues to decay.
When you’re using wood mulch the right way and at the right times, it can keep your tree in great health all year long. And trees aren’t all you can use wood mulch for. Use it in your garden beds and shrubs to continue to reap the benefits of mulching with this organic matter.