Good tree mulching is easy to achieve. Mulch beds for trees should be wide, deep, and kept at the right moisture level throughout the season. That’s right; trees still need water in the Fall and Winter. But many homeowners fall victim to tree mulching errors this time of year, causing them a slow onset of disappointment come spring since poor mulching can result in tree decline and even death.
Continue reading to learn some of the most common bad tree mulching practices in Fall and how to avoid them.
Good Tree Mulching
As mentioned, good tree mulching in Fall means making your mulch beds wide enough and deep enough. Tree mulch beds should be at least 3 feet wide and anywhere from 2 to 4 inches deep. These are the “Goldilocks” dimensions for tree mulch beds. Your mulch beds help retain moisture in the tree roots, but they can dry out themselves, so be sure to continue watering your trees during times of drought.
What Bad Tree Mulching Looks Like
The most common tree mulching errors made by homeowners include mulching too high and narrow, using the incorrect type of mulch, letting mulch go sour, and adding more mulching onto of old mulch. These are the bad tree mulching practices you want to avoid this Fall.
► Mulch Pyramids
A common mulching mistake is to create a mulch bed that is too high up on the tree trunk and too narrow. This formation looks like a pyramid or volcano. This traps moisture on the tree trunk and roots, which can lead to rot.
► Wrong Mulch
When mulching trees, it is important to use a compatible product. A common tree mulching mistake is using mulch that is too fine. Trees need to retain moisture throughout the Fall season, and delicate or finely manufactured mulch can become impermeable and block off water and air.
► Sour Mulch
Another big tree mulching mistake you want to avoid this Fall is letting your mulch turn toxic. Mulch can become compacted for many reasons, such as using too fine of a mulch. When it does, air and water are not able to penetrate, causing the mulch to go sour as a result of low oxygen levels. Furthermore, the souring process produces methanol and acetic acid, which are harmful to soil-sharing plants.
► Topping Off Old Mulch With New Mulch
A very common bad mulching practice is to top off old mulch beds with new mulch, without first removing the old mulch. Mulch does not fully decompose, so it is necessary to break up the old mulch with a rake before adding new mulch in the Fall and Spring.
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