Mulching around trees?

itguy12July 23, 2013

So, over the last few weeks I've posted some pictures in the "name that plant" forum of trees that I didn't know what they were. In addition to all the great comments I received about the IDs, many also suggested I mulch around all of my trees. I have one Magnolia (~12ft tall), one Asian Dogwood (~10ft), 2 Bradford Pears (~20ft) and one oak (~30ft). At this point, should I be mulching around these trees as others suggested? And if so, how far around should eyes and how deep? And one more question, what do I need to do to prepare the ground that will be mulched? Do I just kills all the grass, then pull it up, put weed barrier down and then mulch? Thanks!!!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i would just hit the grass with round up.. in a nice 3 to 4 foot circle....

and bury it in 3 to 4 inches of mulch.. which will settle to 2 to 3 inches .. and keep it away from the trunk itself...

no need to remove dead grass.. and NEVER... use artificial weed barrier.. total waste of money... time.. and effort ...

your real issue.. is what type of edging you want... to hold the mulch out of the grass ...


    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 11:50AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Instead of chemicals, use cardboard... i use it all the awesome for killing grass/weeds/etc...breaks down in short time (worms eat it)... Just cut it with a utility knife in the shape you want...wet it some after u get it in place and toss on some thick mulch (wood chips)...

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 2:10PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

where does one get such for multiple trees??


    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 4:41PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I save all my cardboard from Christmas and from UPS/Fedex packages...its amazing the amount of cardboard one accrues. You could ask on CL, you could scan the streets on garbage night, you could ask around... It works great for starting gardening beds too.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 8:16PM
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If you are looking for boxes (cardboard) I would check the local grocery stores. They usually have more cardboard than you will ever need. Our BJ a warehouse grocery, is an example of where you may find cardboard.

Other sources could be manufactures of small assembles, or any store that sells lots of small items that comes in boxes. most things on sales shelves do.

Other places are large warehouse, like moving companies. Many corporate move contracts specify new boxes, so the warehouse usually has a lot of used moving boxes.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 8:39PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I've used the cardboard method before and don't personally really care for it. The fact that it blocks normal water and gas movement (at least for some time), seemed to encourage surface roots, and was somewhat messy looking unless one adds more mulch than I usually do, made it less attractive to me. It is better than typical commercial weed barriers for this applications, but it's just not "my style".

I use glyphosate (generic for RoundUp) to kill grass within a 5' to 7' diameter circle around the tree. I am careful not to apply the glyphosate to any green bark or leaves of the tree. When the ground vegetation is killed, I use a string trimmer to clear all dead foliage (leaving little to no stubble). I am very careful not to hit the bark of the tree with the trimmer. Finally, I apply shredded bark mulch to the cleared area. I use around 4" to 5" around the outer edge of the circle and gradually taper the thickness down to less than 1/2" up against the trunk. Many people leave a gap between the mulch and the trunk, but I don't like that look, find it less helpful in reducing weeds, and have found no negative issues associated with such a thin layer near the trunk. In areas where voles are present, leaving a completely empty area around the trunk might be a better idea.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 8:44PM
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Exactly. I don't like the cardboard for trees either for the same reasons. It's fine in a veggie garden bed where there are no living roots underneath or none you want to keep. LOL. I don't do chemicals as a rule, but for certain jobs glyphosate is the answer. Don't have to do that often, as the sod gets stripped right at the get-go when I do new plantings before I dig the hole, just roll the dudes up like a carpet and move it to where some sod needs repaired. If there is no need, it gets composted.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 9:12PM
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