Now does a tree NEED mulch to thrive? No, of course not. Just go and look at most trees in the world around you. Few are mulched, at least artificially. But mulch – especially when a tree is in its early stages of development – can really boost its overall health, well being and safety.
It improves the aesthetic appearance of the tree
Sure, this is a little vain, but hey – good-looking trees are great to look at. In many yards and open spaces, trees can really become the centerpiece that brings an entire area together provided it looks good. Mulch can help the tree really pop in terms of its color – and refresh and neaten its overall appearance.
Keeps certain threats away from the tree
Mulch is great for a variety of reasons, but perhaps most useful is its ability to be able to ward off certain threats to the tree. On one hand, mulch can be a fantastic deterrent to fight against pests and weeds – but it can also help protect the tree from you as well! Especially when it comes to weed whacking and mowing, the mulch can form a ‘safe zone’ around the tree that makes that type of harmful damage far less likely to occur.
It regulates soil temperature
Especially in places like the Seacoast and New England where we see drastic temperature fluctuations through the winter and summer months; mulch can be of great assistance insofar as making sure the soil temperature around the tree never gets too out of whack. It helps keep roots cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This keeps the immediate environment around the tree far more consistent and reduces plant stress significantly.
It adds organic matter to your soil by default
Mulch – in a way- can really help supercharge the health of your tree. Organic matter is important because not only does it boost the quality of the soil around a tree, but it helps retain water more easily and helps your tree become more resistant to pests and disease.
It helps retain moisture
Mulch essentially helps a soil maintain its moisture by shielding it from the sun. Less sunlight means less evaporation. That means better water retention and less water needed to keep your tree healthy! And to boot – especially if you’re in the early phases of growing a tree – it means you don’t have to water it as much.
Now, mind you – there is such thing as too much of a good thing – and that rule can apply freely to mulching as well. You DO want to make sure you mulch properly. That means not letting mulch touch the trunk of the tree. That means not going more than 2-3 inches deep with your mulch. That most definitely means that you should avoid “volcano mulching” at all costs. All of these mistakes can leave the door open for wood rot, pests, insects and all sorts of other baddies that your tree wants nothing to do with.
Those kinds of things can genuinely harm your tree – so don’t do them! If you’re looking how to mulch a tree properly, there are several articles and videos online that can help you. Or if you’d like to get it done the best possible way – call a pro!