Benefits of Mulch
Each year, in the forest, leaves and needles fall providing a protective covering for trees. As they decompose, they nourish the soil. Mulch can provide the same nourishing protection for the trees on your property whether those trees are deciduous, coniferous, or fruit-bearing.
Mulch discourages weeds, helps to maintain a uniform soil temperature, adds nutrients, and conserves moisture. It also helps to prevent compaction and reduce soil erosion. Mulch can prevent competition from grass which robs nutrients and moisture from the soil. And when trees are mulched, keeping grass away from the base, there is no risk of damage from lawn mowers and weed-whackers. All in all, a win-win situation.
What Mulch to Use
Bark mulch is the most often used material for tree mulch and is fine. Even better are wood chips which contain entire small branches, leaves and needles. These ramial wood chips are especially useful in providing nutrients as they break down. Needles also make a good mulch under conifer trees, and shredded leaves under deciduous trees. It is best not to use black plastic since it can interfere with water and oxygen supply to the tree’s roots.
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