Seasonal care for trees & shrubs: Mulching

April 4, 2008 at 6:13 am 6 comments


Mulching with organic mulches (e.g. leaves, needles, hardwood and softwood bark and wood, grass, cocoa hulls, straw, etc.) helps to maintain tree health by aiding in water retention, inhibiting weed development, protecting from lawn mowing equipment, offering a layer of insulation during cold weather and adding organic matter into the soil (Carlson, 2003). At planting or transplanting time add a mulch layer 2-4″ deep around the tree as wide as you can tolerate but, to avoid stem damage, not against the trunk.  Mature trees can be mulched at any time.

Over time this mulch will break down and decompose; therefore it is important to make the necessary additions each year. Before making any additions, lightly and thoroughly rake existing mulch to break up compacted or crusted layers (Carlson, 2003b).  Mulching may act as an alternative to fertilization if coarse wood chips or leaves are used (Hagen, 2003).

For more information : Tree mulching booklet (.pdf) and Mulch in managed landscapes (.pdf)

More information on each step:

Authored by Rebecca Koetter, Gary R. Johnson, and Dave Hanson: University of Minnesota
Funded in part by USDA Forest Service: Northeastern Area
Chart designed by Andrew Rose:

Download & print your own poster or magnet copy of the “Seasonal Care for Trees and Shrubs in Northern U.S. Climates”

Entry filed under: seasonal care. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Seasonal care of trees & shrubs: Watering Seasonal care for trees & shrubs: pruning evergreens

6 Comments Add your own

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

About this blog

News and information of interest to Minnesota woodland owners. Sister site to

In the news...

%d bloggers like this: