Mulching is an important part of the upkeep and care of your trees, but too much of a good thing can cause more harm than benefit! Too much mulch can cause rot to root systems, insect infestation, and improper hydration. Unfortunately, mulching is one of the easiest things to do incorrectly when it comes to landscaping. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) has some tips to help you make the proper mulching choices.
Survey the area – Check the area around plants and trees that are to be mulched. Determine whether drainage is adequate, and whether any other plants in the area will be affected by mulching.
Check the depth – If there is already a mulched area of your landscape, check to be sure that it is not higher than two to four inches. Raking old mulch will break up layers that may have become matted together and refresh the appearance of your landscape.
Don’t pile it too high – To allow for proper soil aeration, drainage, and reduction in weeds, a mulch layer should be kept several inches from the trunk, keeping both the base of the tree and its root crown exposed. It should be no more than two to four inches high and should extend to the trees drip line or beyond. Mulching the entire root system is highly recommended.
Choose the Right Mulch – Composted wood chips can make great mulch, especially when they contain a blend of leaves, bark, and wood. Fresh wood chips can also be used around well established trees and shrubs. Organic mulches are preferable to inorganic materials due to their soil enhancing properties.