Mulches are materials put on the ground to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture by lessening evaporation. These are used on the 1 metre diameter weed-free circle around newly planted trees. Mulches can be loose materials such as bark, chipped wood or gravel. Mulches can also be organic matting material and most sheet materials increase soil temperature which encourages early root growth in spring. Mulches are not recommended for damp ground, by preventing evaporation they increase the tendency for the ground to become waterlogged and in turn kill the tree roots.
Why have mulch?
Mulching protects trees from weeds and keeps moisture in the ground. Holding the moisture in the ground allows the trees to access nutrients and often mulch mats raise the soil temperature which helps root growth. This increases the chances of your trees being successful. Maintaining the mulch by keeping it free of weeds is important for your trees protection.
However, mulching can cause problems on sites with poor draining. Keeping the moisture in the soil can cause waterlogging on sites that are already subject to flooding. To overcome this, sites can be drained before planting which allows mulching to have a positive impact of tree growth.
Types of mulch:
Natural materials such as bark, straw and leaves make good mulches. However, fresh bark can be toxic to plants as it contains volatile oils. Also, bark, wood chips and straw with a high ratio of carbon to nitrogen can induce nitrogen deficiency.
It is important to maintain the mulch, Glorious Woodlands will make sure the mulch remains 100mm thick and no light can’t get through the sheet materials (as this allows weeds to grow beneath the mat). Also, the mulch should remain weed free so weeding may be necessary.