April 2017: Proper Mulching Techniques – Part 3

Here at Top Tree LLC, we offer our guidance, experience, and knowledge to all of our clients and potential clients with a high level of passion. We look forward to talking shop with you and no matter what, we welcome any questions you have regarding your trees and plants on your property.

Problems Associated with Improper Mulching

  • On wet soils, deep mulch can lead to excess moisture in the root zone, which can stress the plant and cause root rot.
  • Piling mulch against the trunk or stems of plants can stress stem tissues and may lead to the development of insect and disease problems or stem girdling roots.
  • Some mulches, especially those containing fresh grass clippings, can affect soil pH and may eventually lead to nutrient deficiencies or toxic buildups.
  • Mulch piled high against the trunks of young trees may create habitats for rodents that chew the bark and can girdle the trees.
  • Thick blankets of fine mulch can become matted and may reduce the penetration of water and air.
  • Anaerobic “sour” mulch may give off pungent odors, and the alcohols and organic acids that build up may be toxic to young plants.

Proper Mulching Techniques
The choice of mulch and the method of application can be important to the health of landscape plants. The following are some guidelines to use when applying mulch:

  • Determine whether soil drainage is adequate and if there are plants that may be affected by the choice of mulch. Most commonly available mulches work well in most landscapes. Some plants may benefit from the use of slightly acidifying mulch, such as pine bark.
  • For well drained sites, apply a one to three inch layer of mulch. Coarse mulches can be applied slightly deeper without harm. Place mulch out to the edge of a tree’s crown or beyond.
  • If mulch is already present, check the depth. If sufficient mulch is present, break up any matted layers and refresh the appearance with a rake. Some landscape maintenance companies spray mulch with a water-soluble, vegetable-based dye to add color to faded material.
  • If mulch is piled against the stems or tree trunks, pull it back several inches/centimeters so that the base of the trunk is exposed. Composted wood chips can make good mulch, especially when they include some bark and leaves. Fresh wood chips also may be used around established trees and shrubs. Avoid using fine, non-composted wood chips, as soil nitrogen may be taken up by the roots as the wood chips decompose.

Going Forward With Your Tree Care
We look forward to helping you with all of your tree maintenance and tree trimming needs. When, and if, you have any questions about your trees, shrubs, or any other greenery on your property, we can help. We look forward to hearing from you soon because we are your Pasco tree removal specialists.

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