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Many of us think we know how to take care of our trees just by observing how our cities, shopping malls, neighbors, etc. take care of theirs. We assume that a city or large commercial enterprise would know the proper methods of pruning, mulching, watering, and other plant maintenance. But think about it, how many times have you noticed an irrigation system spewing forth water while it is raining? One of the most noticeable tree care mistakes seen in our area is mounding mulch up around the tree trunk.
Mulching is very important because it conserves soil moisture, suppresses weeds and grass, moderates soil temperatures, and reduces compaction. If there are no weeds and grass near the trunk of the tree there is no need to mow or weed whip near the tree trunk, thus reducing the possibility of damaging the trunk. In order to protect the trunk, it is best to have a nice wide mulched area, not a small area with mulch piled up around the trunk. If the tree looks like there is a mulch volcano around it it may develop problems because water soaked bark is susceptible to bacteria, it creates a place for insects and disease to start attacking the tree and it provides a hideout for rodents. Instead, the look you want is that of a doughnut where the mulch is pulled a couple of inches away from the tree trunk and extends out several feet from the trunk.
Volcanoes Are Bad - Mulch Piled Against the Tree Trunk
Doughnuts Are Good - Mulch Pulled Away From the Tree Trunk
To learn about the different forms available when purchasing trees (bare root, container grown, balled & burlapped), the proper way to plant trees (depth is critical), and proper maintenance visit the University of Minnesota's Forest Resources website. -Lynn Vernon, Master Gardener, Minnesota Tree Care Advisor
Posted by mgweb on May 18, 2008 8:08 AM in Information on Popular Topics