Mulch Like Mother Nature

September 17, 2019 | By Aaron Capannelli


As an Arborist at 770-Tree Guy, I witness daily the lack of sufficient organic mulch in the critical root zone of trees. It is important to remember that tree roots, which are part of the vascular system, extend at least to the edge of the outermost edge of branches. The outmost edge is called the drip line. Roots on older and more mature trees should extend 50% farther than the drip line.

Customers frequently ask, “ what can I do to improve the health of my trees? “ The answer: Organic mulch in the root zone–the wider the better. Organic mulch, including leaves, pine straw, pine bark, shredded wood, and of course, premium double ground mulch here at our recycling facility in Fayetteville, is the single most beneficial addition for improved tree health. We are simply recreating what Mother Nature has been doing in forests and woodlands for millions of years. As our landscape trees get bigger, the mulch ring in the root zone also must get bigger in response. When trees are growing, we need to promote their growth and health by providing the proper nutrients.

Why use organic mulch instead of decorative rock or recycled rubber? Organic mulching helps moderate both cold and hot temperatures, conserve moisture, improve soil structure, increase available oxygen in the root zone, improve water infiltration, reduce weed competition and limit erosion. Most importantly, organic mulch increases the soil organic matter as it decomposes, improving soil biology and fertility.

The addition of organic mulch improves the rhizosphere layer of soils, which is the top layer where most roots are located. As the mulch decomposes, it adds many beneficial nutrients not contained in most box store fertilizers. Again, this recreates what nature has provided trees for millions of years: a natural organic base that trees thrive in.

The layer of organic mulch must get wider as the tree gets bigger. This may mean eliminating turf grass in this critical root zone, but less grass to mow each week for many of us is a good thing. The mulch ring should be complementary in size to the tree.

We can even use leaves that drop in the Fall as a good base.  For a neat, uniform, manicured look, we can top dress the mulch area with Tree Guys’ premium natural and colored mulches available at our recycling center for pick up or delivery.

So, the best thing we can do for the health of our trees?

Keep mulching like Mother Nature!

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