Trees are a great addition to your landscaping, but they do need caring for. Mulching is one of such vital steps in tree care, especially during winter, and it can help nurture a lot of life back into the soil.

A properly mulched tree will be more resilient in the face of frost, wind, and dry conditions causing damage or loss to other root systems. So, to ensure you’re taking care of your trees correctly, here are some tips on how to mulch them properly without affecting their health.

Start With the Right Materials

Mulching your trees is a great way to add nutrients and keep your soil healthy, but choosing suitable materials is also essential.

Mulch can be made from composted materials, including leaves, straw, and shredded bark. Composted leaves are a good choice because they contain high nitrogen levels and other nutrients that can help trees grow and thrive.

Mulch made from straw or shredded bark is another option for many homeowners because these products are often available in bulk at local nurseries.

Leave a Small Area Above the Root Flare Exposed

Since you’re serious about mulching your trees perfectly, you can’t just throw down some grass clippings and call it good. Instead, you’ll need to expose a small area above the root flare. That’s where water will drain from the roots and not sit in a stagnant pool at the base of your tree.

Don’t Mound up Your Mulch Like a Volcano

Mulching too much can prevent the roots from getting oxygen, which makes them weak and susceptible to disease. In addition, too much mulch can result in an uneven surface that can lead to compaction and plant damage.

You want your mulch layer to be about 3 inches thick, with a slight slope toward the tree. That will allow air circulation through the soil beneath it, giving the tree roots access to oxygenated soil.

Mulch Out to the Drip Line of Your Tree

You want to mulch out to the drip line of your tree, which is about six inches from the trunk. That’s where water will collect and run down into the root zone for absorption.

Keeping the mulch out to the drip line of your tree will help protect it from moisture loss means you can maintain the soil’s aeration and water retention and provide a source of nutrients for your tree.

If you don’t do this, you’ll end up with a lot of soil erosion around your tree — and that can cause problems for your tree in the long run.

Go Easy on the Fertilizer

You may want to start adding fertilizer to your trees, but you should be careful.

The way that mulch works are by keeping the soil moist, which keeps the roots of your trees alive and healthy. But too much nitrogen can kill them. It will rot and die when you add too much water to a plant.

You don’t need to fertilize the soil around your trees with fertilizer every time it rains or after a heavy frost — but if you do fertilize them, take care not to overdo it.

Key Takeaway

That’s it on mulching. Now you know when to mulch and how to do so. Mulch is a great way to feed your trees, keep weeds down, and prevent soil erosion. Just remember not to overdo it. There are plenty of other plants that need a little love too.