There are many reasons why people choose to plant trees on their property, which include to improve the appearance of the landscape and to provide shade. It's often necessary for homeowners to contact a tree service to trim their trees, care for diseased trees and to remove trees. We aren't affiliated with tree service professionals but we think homeowners should understand the importance of tree specialists and why their services are needed. We researched tree care and talked to professionals in the tree service industry to obtain the information we needed for this blog. As you read these articles, you'll learn when it's necessary to contact a tree service to maintain and care for your trees.
Many homeowners struggle with the area around the base of their landscape trees. Grass often grows sparsely in this spot due to shading and competition for the tree, so all that thrives is a few weedy plants. Fortunately, mulch provides a viable solution to this problem and it benefits the tree by reducing weed competition, insulating surface roots, and conserving water.
What Kind of Mulch Is Best?
You can use wood chips or bark mulch around any type of deciduous tree, except for black walnut as it produces a chemical that stunts plant growth. Pine straw, which is made of dry pine needles, is great around conifer trees and evergreens but it's higher acid contact can harm many deciduous trees. Larger mulch "nuggets" can last a bit longer without breaking down, whereas finer shreds and chips break down more quickly and provide their nutrients to the soil.
How Much Mulch Is Used?
The amount of mulch depends on the size of the tree. For young trees, you should mulch an area that is equal to the spread of the canopy. Although mature trees can also benefit from this much mulch, it's not often possible so you can instead mulch an area half the size of the mature canopy spread. Mulch is typically laid to a 3-inch depth, which is sufficient to smother most weeds and provide the full benefits of mulching.
Does Mulch Need to Be Replaced?
Mulch does decompose over time, which provides many beneficial nutrients to the soil. For this reason, you will need to replenish your mulch layer at least once a year. Late winter is a good time to add more mulch so that any weed seeds from the fall can be smothered. Further, mulch fades the most in winter, so a refresh at the end of the season is also beneficial for your yard's appearance.
Is Landscape Fabric Helpful?
Landscaping fabric, which is used to block weed growth, isn't typically used around trees. One reason is that trees have many surface roots that need easy access to moisture and oxygen in the upper levels of the soil, and fabric could block this. Further, the fabric can constrict the trunk of the tree as it grows over the years, which can lead to girdling and tree death. Instead, clear the soil of any turf or weeds and then mulch heavily. Pull any small weed seedlings as soon as they appear so nothing becomes established.
Contact a tree service for more help, especially if you need them to do this work for you.