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When done properly, mulching helps a tree to retain water and regulate extra cold temperatures. Trees benefit the most when mulch acts as a cover for compost.

How is mulch different from compost?

Compost contains decayed organic matter. A smart homeowner puts compost around the yard’s trees in the spring. Once that compost has worked its way into the soil, the roots that have taken-in the soil’s added nutrients could use a covering of mulch.

Tree Care service in San Jose is of the view that like compost, mulch contains organic matter, but it has not been allowed to decay. Grass clippings and wood chips are great examples of material that can be used for mulching.

Suggested method for applying mulch

Spread 2-3 inches of that organic matter around each tree. Make sure that it does not touch the flare, the point where the trunk ends and the root begins. Use a rake to pull the mulching material away from the trunk and towards the edge of the tree’s canopy.

This suggested method provides homeowners with a way to keep a trunk’s flare from attracting fungus, disease or pests.

A longer list of reasons for placing mulch around trees

• That organic matter aids retention of water in the soil; it also regulates absorption of water from soaked soil.
• It reduces the degree to which water and wind might erode the soil.
• It adds nutrients to the ground, and improves the quality of materials in the ground.
• It limits the growth of weeds.
• It works as a natural monitor, due to its ability to control the effect of especially low temperatures.

What could happen if a tree had not received any mulch?

If it were to rain heavily, the roots might soak up too much of the groundwater. As a result, the tree could become waterlogged. If a storm were to expose a given tree to strong winds, those same winds might erode the soil around the roots. Exposure of the roots could cause the tall plant (tree) to become unbalanced. The disappearance of a tree’s balance could cause it to topple over in a heavy wind.

By the same token, exposure of roots helps to shorten the lifetime of the plant that has received water and nourishment through that same root structure. Furthermore, erosion of soil can cause plants to become stressed. On trees, that stress might trigger the development of dead limbs or yellow leaves.

If the temperatures were to drop to a very low level, the absence of mulch would mean a lack of protection for the roots. Consequently, the cold water could represent another source of stress. The effect of stress has been described above. There would be fewer nutrients in the water that entered the root structure.