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mulching around a tree

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by pines, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. pines

    pines LawnSite Member
    Posts: 148

    when you guys mulch around a tree how big a radius do you usually create...1', 1.5', 2'? Also do you first remove all the sod and then use a bed edgedger or do you use the bed edger as a part of the process to remove the sod.
  2. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    Trees less than 6" cal. - spray Round-up & Surflan about 1 1/2' - 2' around tree. Apply mulch 2-3" deep, take care to keep the mulch from touching the tree.
  3. pines

    pines LawnSite Member
    Posts: 148

    Thanks for replying. When you apply these items is there a certain amount of time after application before you mulch. Also, what is Surflan? I am assuming that Round-Up kills the grass. Any comment on the bed edger portion of my question? Thanks in advance.
  4. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    Surflan would be a pre-emergent herbicide. As far as mulch rings, my bed edger cant do anything under a 2' radius, so thats what i do around smaller trees. Large trees, i attempt to mulch up to the drip line, as grass just wont grow as well under one, esp around maples and trees that produce lots of surface roots.
  5. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    Remember the rule of thirds when mulching trees. Taking into account the spread of the canopy, mulch rings should be one of the following; 1/3 of canopy, 2/3's of canopy, or 3/3's of canopy.

    This will keep the mulch as aesthetically pleasing as possible.:)


  6. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Posts: 793

    Use a spade shovel and skim the grass from under the tree
    2 to 2 1/2' out ,depending upon the size of the tree. Use the spade to create the edge around the tree
    then apply 2 1/2 to 3" of mulch.

    Mechanical edgers should not be used under trees, spraying
    with round-up and surflan, should not be done under trees if it can be avoided.
  7. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    good info above...aside from the fact that you could damage the root system, we never use trench/bed edgers around trees becuase frankly they dont do well going in a circle. Even the ones with the back wheels that turn do a lousy job going in a circle. Best to cut in the edge by hand.

    and PAHLEASE...NO MULCH VOLCANOES AROUND TREES...man we all see this all the time ...best way I know to kill a tree in that it can cause the main roots to "girdle" the tree and eventually kill it or at least stunt its growth

    one of these days when I see a Paco piling 3 inches of mulch on top of the 5 inches leftover from last year, I;m gonna have to get out of the truck and have a chat .In case you cant tell, this topic drives me nuts becuase the only reason they do it is to sell more yards of mulch...idiots.
  8. pines

    pines LawnSite Member
    Posts: 148

    This is the info I was looking for. Just wanted to find out if the edger was best around a tree.Thanks
  9. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    A couple of times last year I was in the process of removing buildup of old mulch around trees, only to discover a girdling root. Found about 3 of them inside of 2 weeks.

    Does anyone know what to look for on the trunk of a tree to clue you into a girdling root?


  10. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    i asked a certified arborist this very ?..he said the only way to know is to dig below the soil surface. By the time it shows above ground, its usually too late

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