If your trees are growing in lawn or a bare soil area of your yard, they will benefit from having a mulch ring around their base for many reasons. The main advantage is that it will keep lawn mowers and weed whackers away from the trunk where they can cause bark injury. Mulch will also suppress weeds, hold moisture during drought, buffer air temperature extremes and help with soil runoff.
Here are some tips for creating and maintaining a mulch ring around your tree:
- The first step is to delineate the new area. How big to make the circle is really up to you; consider how much independent space you can give it in your yard and what looks proportional to the tree size.
- To get rid of grass that is encircling a tree, you can choose an organic method or herbicide treatment. Organic options include smothering the grass with plywood until it dies, or manually digging up the grass (take care not to injure tree roots when doing this). Herbicide treatment involves spraying the delineated lawn area with a grass killing herbicide, but make SURE that it is not a product that also kills trees!
- Once you have prepped the ring, cover the area with 2-3” deep of mulch. Do not mound the mulch up against the base of the tree and avoid going overboard on the mulch depth because both of these can invite critters, fungi, and moisture problems.
- To maintain your mulch ring, replenish every 2-3 years with fresh mulch as the old stuff will break down over time and fade in color. Also a light raking every so often will deter fungi and weeds from taking hold.
Mulch is an great way to enhance tree appearance and health. Your trees will thank you!