How To Mulch A Tree

If you look at trees in an urban environment, you will notice that a good many of them are mulched.  Look closer and you might notice that the mulch often forms what looks like a volcano around the base of the tree.  In the industry, we refer to these as mulch mounds or mulch volcanos. Layers of mulch that surround the base of the tree are detrimental to the tree's health.  I like to think about it in terms of the human body.  Imagine that you have wrapped duct tape around your arm and left it there for a year, or two, or 10.  What do you think would happen to your arm?  It would rot.  That is what is happening to the trunk of the tree that is buried in the mulch, it is rotting.  Tree health depends on oxygen circulating around and through the tree and the tree's respiration system.  Proper mulching is necessary to keep trees strong and happy.  

To properly mulch a tree:

  • Remove grass and plants from the base of the tree (give 3-10 feet depending on size of tree).  
  • Use natural mulch in a circle around the base of the tree.  Keep mulch at 2-4 inches deep.  
  • Keep the mulch from touching the base of the tree.  

If you follow these guidelines, your trees will be better off.  If your tree is improperly mulched, consider a root crown excavation.  Removing debris from the base of a tree with a shovel or other  mechanical device can injure roots and bark.  Singing Tree LLC uses a pneumatic air device to blow pressurized air into the dirt, debris and mulch, thus clearing the trunk without damage to the roots and base.