How to Mulch Around Trees: A Guide for Falls Church, VA Homeowners

Mulching helps your trees stay healthy and attractive by preventing weed growth and insulating the tree roots from extreme temperatures. It also controls soil erosion, especially if your trees are growing on a hillside. 

There’s a catch, however – you can only enjoy these benefits when you apply the mulch correctly!

In this blog post, Bristol’s tree services company, GM 2 Tree Services, LLC, will teach you how to mulch around trees to ensure the best results. 

how to mulch around trees

Use the Right Type of Mulch

You have several options when it comes to the kind of mulch to apply around your trees. You can use standard bark mulch, shredded leaves, pine needles, or wood chips. 

If you opt for wood chips, be sure to age them first. If you settle for leaf mulch, shredded leaves are the best since they often break down faster than whole leaves and, hence, release nutrients faster. This is especially beneficial if you have young trees; however, you’ll need to replace the mulch every few weeks due to faster decomposition, and this may not be a pleasant experience. 

How do you prepare shredded leaves?

Once you rake the leaves during fall, put them in a leaf vacuum or leaf shredder. Here’s another simpler and quicker idea: run the lawn mower over the leaves and collect them in the mower bag!

How Much Mulch Should You Apply?

We can’t explain how to mulch around trees without telling you how much mulch is appropriate. We recommend applying a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of your tree, particularly if the tree is still young. 

For the first 12 inches just around the tree trunk, ensure the mulch layer is so thin that it only covers the soil. This way, you’ll avoid the detrimental effects of excess mulch. Never allow mulch to come into contact with your tree’s trunk. 

Mulch Volcanoes Aren’t Good for Your Tree

If you haven’t done it yourself, then you’ve probably seen people applying too much mulch around their front or backyard trees. That’s what we call a mulch volcano. It usually occurs when you build a circular raised bed around your tree and fill it with mulch. 

This mulch becomes increasingly steep as it gets closer to the tree and, eventually, juts out like a lava eruption. The mulch could only be 2 inches high at the base and at least 5 inches high near your tree’s trunk. 

Now, you’re probably asking, “What’s wrong with mulch volcanoes around trees?”

Here are just a few reasons to avoid mulch volcanoes:

  • You shouldn’t have more than 5 inches of mulch. That’s too deep, and it would trap and prevent most of the water from reaching the tree roots. 
  • Water will run off the sides of the volcano and away from the base of your young tree. That means the water may not reach the roots. 
  • Excess mulch can deprive the roots of much-needed oxygen. 
  • Deep mulch can attract pests and diseases to your tree. 

Improper mulching is also notorious for retaining moisture at the tree’s base. This often leads to collar rot. You can avoid this problem by ensuring the mulch doesn’t touch your tree trunk. 

Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Assistance

Even when you know how to mulch around trees, it pays to work with a certified professional to avoid costly mistakes. If you need help with mulching your trees in Bristol, Connecticut, talk to the experts at GM 2 Tree Services, LLC.

We provide a broad range of services, including tree trimming and pruning, tree removal, stump grinding, and root removal.

Contact us at (860) 940-5783 for a free estimate or to learn about how to care for a tree today!