Given ongoing efforts to improve the look of the community by replacing trees, fixing sidewalks, and reseeding some of the common areas, we thought we would repost this guidance from a couple of years ago for homeowners working in the yard.
Edging, mulching, and pruning of trees along the sidewalk and street of homeowner property is the responsibility of the homeowner. Trees should be trimmed so that pedestrians may walk on the sidewalks unobstructed.
Download Proper Pruning Techniques
Download Proper Mulching Techniques
VIDEO: How to Prune a Tree
VIDEO: How to Mulch a Tree
Do your trees a favor and mulch them properly!
One common misconception is that “lots of mulch around tree trunks is a good thing.” The opposite can be true if improperly applied. Improper mulching can do more harm than good to trees. It has been observed that a number of our street trees are mulched using what is called “the volcano technique.” That is, the mulch is sloped upwardly from the ground level all the way up to the tree trunk. This causes the tree to generate additional root growth in the mulch rather than the mulch preserving moisture as it was intended to do. Please note the following information on proper techniques. Feel free to share this information from horticultural professionals with any landscaping service company you may be using.
Proper Mulching Techniques
Mulches are materials placed over the soil surface to maintain moisture and improve soil conditions. Mulching is one of the most beneficial things a home owner can do for the health of a tree. Mulch can reduce water loss from the soil, minimize weed competition, and improve soil structure. Properly applied, mulch can give landscapes a handsome, well-groomed appearance. Mulch must be applied properly; if it is too deep, it can actually cause significant harm to trees.
Not Too Much!
As beneficial as mulch is, too much can be harmful. The generally recommended mulching depth is 2 to 4 inches. Unfortunately, many landscapes are falling victim to a plague of over-mulching. A new term, “mulch volcanoes,” has emerged to describe mulch that has been piled up around the base of trees. Most organic mulches must be replenished, but the rate of decomposition varies. Some mulches, such as cypress mulch, remain intact for many years. Top dressing with new mulch annually (often for the sake of refreshing the color) creates a buildup to depths that can be unhealthy. Deep mulch can be effective in suppressing weeds and reducing maintenance, but it often causes additional problems.
It is clear that the choice of mulch and the method of application can be important to the health of landscape plants. The following are some guidelines to use when applying mulch:
–Inspect plants and soil in the area to be mulched. Determine whether drainage is adequate. Determine whether there are plants that may be affected by the choice of mulch. Most commonly available mulches work well in most landscapes. Some plants may benefit from the use of a slightly acidifying mulch such as pine bark.
–If mulch is already present, check the depth. Do not add mulch if there is a sufficient layer in place. Rake the old mulch to break up any matted layers and to refresh the appearance. Some landscape maintenance companies spray mulch with a water-soluble, vegetable-based dye to improve the appearance.
–If mulch is piled against the stems or tree trunks, pull it back several inches so that the base of the trunk and the root crown are exposed.
–Organic mulches usually are preferred to inorganic materials due to their soil-enhancing properties. If organic mulch is used, it should be well aerated and, preferably, composted. Avoid sour-smelling mulch.
–Composted wood chips can make good mulch, especially when they contain a blend of leaves, bark, and wood. Fresh wood chips also may be used around established trees and shrubs. Avoid using non-composted wood chips that have been piled deeply without exposure to oxygen.
–For well-drained sites, apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch. If there are drainage problems, a thinner layer should be used. Avoid placing mulch against the tree trunks. Place mulch out to the tree’s drip line or beyond.
Remember: If the tree had a say in the matter, its entire root system (which usually extends well beyond the drip line) would be mulched. Make sure to visit https://ngturf.com/bermuda/, to keep on reading more landscaping tips and advice.