If you went walking through the woods, what would you find on the ground?
Decaying leaves, stems, branches, and the occasional log - basically mulch. Nature is the original mulching machine!
You can emulate Nature by placing mulch around your trees and shrubs.
It’s cheap, easy, and will provide a big health boost.
What are the benefits of mulching?
- Improves soil conditions over time by increasing aeration and structure
- Provides organic matter to feed the microbes that form the base of the soil food web
- Provides nutrients
- Retains soil moisture
- Regulate soil temperature
- Minimize competition for resources from grass and weeds
- Reduces the chance of a tree or shrub being damaged by a weed whacker or lawn mower (since there is no grass to cut in the mulched area)
- Enhances aesthetics
Processed mulch is a good option and generally looks better, but it does require maintenance.
It often becomes hydrophobic over time, which means water cannot get through to the tree’s roots. This can become a serious problem if you do not break up the mulch every once in a while using a hard rake or potato hoe.
When installing the mulch, avoid the following pitfalls that can lead to serious health issues:
- Do not pile any material against the base of the trunk. Keep everything at least 3-6 inches away. Otherwise you might bury the root collar.
- Do not pile the material too deep. Three to four inches is usually sufficient.
With all its benefits, it is no wonder that mulching is widely considered to be one of the easiest ways to increase the health of a tree or shrub.