Properly installing mulch around the trunk of a plant is essential to any tree or shrub's health. But not all types of mulch are created equal. There are several choices, but only one provides more benefits to your plants than others: wood chips.
Wood chips are different from the bagged triple shred mulch you can purchase at a home improvement or landscaping supply store.
Instead of being heavily processed hardwood, wood chips are simply large chunks of tree branches and trunks that are the byproduct of pruning trees. It is a cleaner mulch that provides more benefits to your trees and shrubs including, but not limited to, the following:
Feeds the Soil
One of the most important benefits of using wood chips is that they rot and feed the soil, which feeds the tree.
A thick layer of wood chips maintains the temperature near the roots. This protective covering is especially important during the heat of the summer or winter cold snaps. It keeps the ground cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
A protective layer of wood chips also prevents water from evaporating from the soil. Reducing evaporation around the roots conserves water because it reduces the frequency that plants need to be watered and lessens the chance that trees will become drought-stressed.
Wood chips are a byproduct of pruning and tree removal. If they are not reused, they frequently end up at the landfill. When this green waste decomposes without oxygen, it creates excess methane, a greenhouse gas nearly 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. It's terrible for the environment.
Free and readily available
Most arborists will deliver excess wood chips to your house for free, and because pruning is recommended annually, there is always an endless supply.
A layer of wood chips also prevents light from getting to the weeds below, inhibiting them from growing and competing for resources.
Prevent damage to trunk from mowers or string trimmers
Because wood chips suppress weeds, mowers and string trimmers don't need to get close to the trunk. This avoids damage that can impact the health of the tree.
Eliminates the need for chemical inputs
Like we said above, wood chips rot and feed the soil, so artificial chemical nutrients are no longer needed. These chemical inputs can give your plants an immediate boost, but these fertilizers can be very harmful in the long term.
Does not become hydrophobic
Triple shred mulch is so thin that it can clump together in a solid mat, preventing water from reaching the tree's roots. Wood chips are chunkier and more irregularly shaped, allowing water to flow more easily through the porous groundcover.
Wood chips are a win for everyone: people and planet. They are also an easy way to greatly improve the health of trees, ensuring they live longer. And with all of the environmental challenges facing our planet, we need as many healthy trees as possible.
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