mulching trees

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by whitenack, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. whitenack

    whitenack LawnSite Member
    Posts: 78

    I have some mature trees in my back yard that I want to mulch.

    They have never been mulched before, and I was wondering the best way to go about it.

    I know I should only put a thin layer down, as to not suffocate the roots, but I was wondering if I should dig up the grass before I put the mulch down, or just put the mulch down on top of the grass.

    Thanks,
     
  2. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    I would just go ahead and mulch over the grass,there
    is less possibility of doing any root damage that way
    (by digging up the grass)a 2" layer is fine you can see how that does if the grass comes thru,
    add 1"more.
    Also keep the mulch away from the trunks of the trees
    at least a few feet away all the way around the trunks
     
  3. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    I myself would pull up the grass, if feasible. If these are mature trees I would assume that the roots are well established, and unless if you go in there with a jackhammer you probably won't affect the trees.

    But as Sheshovel mentioned, don't pile mulch up against the trunk of the trees. I don't think it has to be a few feet away, as some tree wells are only a few feet in diameter. The idea is that bark will hold in moisture, and a tree's trunk that stays moist can be vulnerable to disease.
     
  4. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Posts: 784

    6 inches of backfill will smother the tree also.
     
  5. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

     
  6. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Posts: 784

    sorry dbl post.
     
  7. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Posts: 784

    the root hairs are the ones that soak up the water and feed the tree or plant. those root hairs can not be seen by the naked eye. they are only one cell wide. these root hairs are damaged if direct sunlight hit them. sure all of the roots make up a large system that depends on its self but its the root hairs that keep it alive. besides anchoring plants, roots aborb water minerals in solutions, mostly thought 'feeder' roots found in the upper meter of the soil.
    with that said i dont think that sod removal will hurt it as much as you would think. the root zone on grass is only 4-6inches at best. no homeowner is going to remove 6 inches of soil. they will remove the grass,thatch and some soil , if they use a cutter. which i doubt.
     
  8. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Posts: 784

    by the way did u know that a single rye grass plant occupling less than .6 cubic meter os soil was found to have 14 billion protuberances(root hairs). with the total surface area almost the size of a football field
     

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