Most plants benefit from an organic mulch covering the soil surface around them. A good organic mulch, such as hardwood bark mulch, conserves moisture, maintains a more even soil temperature, inhibits weed growth, and prevents soil compaction and erosion from rain and irrigation.
Mulch guards against damage to trees and shrubs from lawn equipment. Because it’s a natural product, it does decompose over time so you will probably need to add to it occasionally.
If you plan to apply compost to your landscape beds in the spring, give it time to work its way into the soil with rain or watering before mulching over the top.
Proper way to mulch a tree
- Spread 2 – 4 inches evenly around the tree’s perimeter.
- Avoid building a mound up around the trunk. “Volcano mulching” against the trunk of a tree creates a cool, damp hideaway attracting fungus, disease, and pests.
- Trees in a natural setting aren’t covered up to their trunks. Keep the trees’ root flare — the spot where the tree trunk ends and the roots begin — free from mulch.
- Spread mulch first around your tree, then use a rake to evenly pull the mulch out to the furthest edges of the tree’s canopy.