Fall is an ideal time to add mulch to your landscape and trees. Mulching around your trees and garden provides several important advantages in keeping your trees healthy and thriving, even with the drought conditions in San Diego.
Mulch, when properly applied around your trees, will naturally retain moisture. This allows the tree to slowly absorb this moisture over the following weeks. Mulch also reduces weeds around your trees and improves the overall soil structure.
Choosing Your Mulch
Mulch can be found at any big box home and garden store or a local nursery. It’s important to select an appropriate type of mulch to install around your various trees. There are dozens of types of mulch available, however they generally come in two categories – organic and inorganic. Organic and inorganic mulches each have advantages and disadvantages that should be considered.
Organic mulch is made up of once living components such as wood chips, leaves, compost or pine needles. Organic mulch may offer key nutritional benefits for your trees, though typically doesn’t last as long as inorganic. When choosing organic mulch, it is best to select a mulch that originated in your general geographic area. This will ensure the acidity in the mulch most closely matches that of your soil, trees and garden beds. These nutrients will be more beneficial as they break down and are absorbed into the soil.
Inorganic mulch consists of components such as rubber, pebbles, rocks, lava rock, recycled materials and other non-living elements. Inorganic mulch is typically longer lasting, and more able to withstand downpours and floods without being washed away.
How To Apply Mulch Around Your Trees
Before applying your chosen mulch, you’ll need to clear the base of the tree, remove weeds, rocks, other plants and other debris. The tree will reap the most benefit if the mulch is installed directly on top of the soil.
With the base clear, simply spread your mulch around the base of the tree. Depending on the mulch, it may be beneficial to pack down the mulch with your hands to stabilize the area.
Ensure the mulch is applied around the entire base of the tree, expanding out at least 8-12” from the tree.
Leave 2-3” of separation between the trunk of the tree and the mulch.
Note: Applying too much mulch can actually have negative effects on your trees’ health. A heaping, volcano-like pile of mulch can slowly deprive your tree of key nutrients and result in stunted growth and other issues. A thin layer of mulch, no deeper than 3”, is all this is required.
Contact us If we can help with any of your tree care needs.