Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Landscape Tip of the Day April 15, 2009

Well, I found the data about the small tree vs. the large tree at transplanting, I just do not have it with me right now, so I will move on for this post.
Mulch. Lets talk mulch. This could be a very long post on mulch, but I am going to make it as short as possible.
Mulch, love it, hate it, don't care. Why care.
Mulch=good. Too much=bad. Who cares=skip this post.

Mulch is an important component to the overall health of trees and plants PROVIDED it is properly applied, and the right stuff. Properly applied mulch creates a no competiton zone for the plants roots, enabling it to utilize water and nutrients without competition from grass, weeds, etc. It keeps the root zone cool, helps to retain water, and provides a buffer zone from mechanical injury (ie: mowers and weed-wackers).
Mulch should be applied no more than a few inches deep, and should NEVER EVER EVER be coned up, volcano style, around the base of the tree. Those who do this should be tied to the base of a tree and completely buried in mulch for a week. Deep mulch is home to little chewing mammals, who will find tree bark a welcome meal in the colder months. Deep mulch will smother and hold moisture against the tree base, eventually rotting the bark, and killing the tree (this also applies to planting too deep....same thing).Think of being in wet shoes for a week. Gross. Thats the same thing a tree experiences when wet deep mulch is piled up around its trunk. Etch! As in life, find a middle ground for mulch, not too much, not to little About 3 inches more or less.
Nice and neat, not too deep, water should be able to percolate through. Keep mulch away from the base by a few inches. Add more as needed, if none is needed, lightly fluff what is there.
These products take huge amounts of nitrogen (away from the plant) to decompose; pile them up somewhere for a year or so, then incorporate into your mulch beds. Use any organic composted material native to your area. Do not use plastic to keep the weeds down under a tree. If you like, you can use a water permiable landscape fabric, then cover with much. Newspapers will work as well.
There you have it. Mulch 101.

Happy mulching

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