There’s a right way and a wrong way to apply mulch to the trees on your property. As with everything in life, spending a little extra time to do it the right way will give you much better results.
The New Jersey certified arborists here at Friendly Tree understand the issues urban trees face, and we work diligently to mitigate these issues for a healthy, happy landscape.
Lessons From Nature
Next time you take a stroll through your favorite wooded trail, take a moment to look at the forest floor. Trees are naturally blanketed by a layer of leaves and other organic material which help to retain moisture, suppress weeds, regulate soil temperature and replenish essential nutrients.
The best way to mulch trees in an urban landscape is to mimic their natural environment as closely as possible.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Mulching
- Apply mulch in the Spring once the ground has thawed, or after planting.
- Ensure proper soil drainage before mulching. Use less mulch if the tree is in a poorly drained area.
- Clear a 3-10 foot circle around the base of the tree, free from grass, rocks or debris. DO NOT spray an herbicide, like Roundup, to kill the grass.
- Before mulching, spread compost within the circle and water thoroughly.
- Choose a natural mulch material such as hardwood chips, hardwood or softwood bark, composted leaves, straw or pine needles. Inorganic mulch (such as pulverized rubber) won’t supply nutrients or improve soil structure.
- Layer mulch 2-4 inches deep above the compost.
- Use a rake to spread the mulch evenly out to the edge of the circle, making sure excess mulch isn’t piled up against the trunk of the tree.
- Spread mulch up to the tree’s trunk; this is known as volcano mulching and can eventually kill your tree! Keep mulch away from the tree’s root flare, which is where the roots begin and the trunk ends.
- Use compost or mulch that is too “hot,” which simply means it hasn’t had adequate time to break down and decompose (like fresh manure or fresh grass clippings).
- Apply mulch too deep, which can cause root rot in wet soils.
- Use fine mulch, which can limit the penetration of air and water as it becomes compacted.
- Mulch right before the ground freezes, which creates an ideal shelter for rodents and pests looking for a warm winter hideaway.
Mulch is a Tree’s Best Friend
Mulch is essential to the health and vitality of the trees on your property, and the benefits far outweigh the cost and time invested. In fact, it’s one of the most important practices for optimal tree health. In urban landscapes, where trees may not naturally grow, it’s important to provide a rich, protected soil environment similar to their natural growing conditions.
- Helps trees conserve moisture, which also means less watering and lower water bills.
- Prevents weed growth and competition.
- Regulates and insulates soil temperature, protecting roots from extreme heat and cold.
- Reduces trees’ susceptibility to diseases.
- Helps to prevent soil compaction around tree roots.
- Protects trees from lawn mower or weed whacker damage.
- Improves soil structure, aeration and drainage.
- Enhances soil fertility, providing nutrients and microorganisms essential to tree growth.
- Provides a uniform, aesthetically pleasing look to the landscape.
How Much Mulch Do You Need?
Now that you know the proper way to mulch your trees, exactly how much mulch will you need?
The easiest way to determine that is to use our mulch calculator, which tells you how many cubic yards of mulch you will need per tree (or garden bed).
Or, simply give us a call and we can help you determine what kind and how much mulch you need for your property. With 26 years in the business, there is no other company in New Jersey that knows more about tree health. At Friendly Tree, we pride ourselves on providing expert, reliable service, taking the utmost care of our customers and their trees.
Friendly Tree is your New Jersey tree care service of choice for many reasons. The most important reason is that our team members are actual certified arborists recognized for our education and experience in the art and science of arboriculture. We are craftsmen, scientists, detectives, artists, engineers and have the needed knowledge base to be thorough in their craft of tree care. The New Jersey arborist is faced with complex issues and many potential environmental stresses on our trees. Tree health and tree safety inspections that we do look at how weather, chemicals (lawn treatments, pool water etc.) effect our NJ trees past present and future. Arborists with field experience are true detectives in that we have to look for clues in past damage to the tree and the surrounding areas. We see a lot of construction damage or at least the effects of it. Certified arborists in New Jersey do not always know the history of the property or if there was damage to the root zone of a tree during construction. We can see the signs, not with x-ray vision but through experience and knowing the queues given by the tree and the overall site condition.
We also see potential issues and stress on trees in urban areas. Traffic and congestion pose a threat to trees because of emissions and chemical particulates in the air. Urban arborists must understand the physiology of a specific type of tree and how to impact the negatives done by pollution and high carbon impact.
Arborists in New Jersey must be aware of the appropriate times and manners in which trees are to be pruned to accomplish the goal of pruning with minimal negative impact on the trees in question. Tree identification is critical in deciphering the most appropriate means to treat a specific type of tree. We also have faced unique fungal, bacterial and insect issues recently. The Emerald Ash Borer or EAB is afflicting our Ash trees and if introduced assure sudden death this combined with the blight on Ash we are losing these precious trees by the thousands.
An arborist has many tools to combat many issues that can harm trees but unfortunately there are many of mother nature’s whims that we cannot prevent or correct. We have been faced with extreme weather (hurricanes, super storms, drought and wind storms) extreme weather is the leading cause for tree damage and has created hazards that we must work hard to remedy and or simply and sadly clean up the mess of a fallen or severely damaged tree to avoid damage or injury. Even expertly pruned trees can only handle so must stress and extremes in weather before succumbing.
Friendly Tree Service works diligently to stay on top of the most up to date technology and research to help offer the most appropriate course of action to safeguard your trees and shrubs. We are mandated to perform continuing education to maintain certification. This is not limited to the science of arboriculture but also to safe work practices, OSHA and ANSI standard changes and the knowledge of new procedures in pruning and fertilization etc. that are less invasive and more effective.
Quality organic top soil is rich with bio-available nutrients and “alive”. The best quality is dark in color ( dark drown or black) which is key to show high levels of organic matter. Your product should have little odor but be on the sweet side not bitter or manure like. This bad smell is a show of dead, rotting organics which will likely steal nitrogen and nutrients from your planting beds. It should be free of large rocks and not have too high of a clay content. Quality soil should perk or drain well so rain/ water gets to the roots of your plants. If it has too much clay the water will not get to the root zone easily. Test it by grabbing a handful and making a ball out of it. Premium topsoil will crumble apart but if it is high in clay it will retain its shape.
Top soil delivery in essex county, morris county, Passaic county , Hudson and union counties is available generally same day or next day. Our product is premium screened high organic matter which is what you need for healthy planting beds. Start out with high quality product delivered by Friendly Tree to assure your new plants thrive not just survive. A base of topsoil added to existing planting beds or existing lawns can add a natural boost to the performance of your landscapes.
If you see topsoil that is tan or grey be leary. Likely the organic matter is very low and likely this is dirt fill being passed off as quality product, but it is not. Color, smell and texture are the best ways to make sure you are getting quality product delivered to your home or office.
Bulk top soil delivery is our specialty. Friendly Tree can delivery as little as 1 cubic yard of soil all the way up to 50 cubic yards in a single truck load. Use our handy yardage calculator at www.friendlytree.com to figure out how much product you need? If there are still questions about how much topsoil is needed for a garden bed please don’t hesitate to call.
Friendly Tree Service offers delivery to Montclair, glen ridge and surrounding areas as well as topsoil delivery to Morristown and Madison as well as surrounding towns. Friendly Tree also offers delivery to union, springfield and short hills and surrounding towns as well as Rutherford and all of Bergen and Passaic counties.
Did you know that one tree creates enough oxygen each year to support two human beings? And that more than 5, 000 unique products are made from trees? It’s true! Additionally, each year the average person uses the equivalent of a 100-foot tall, 18-inch wide tree, in wood and paper products. Beyond these fun facts, healthy trees can also increase property values — a statistic appreciated by 100% of homeowners.
So keep your trees maintained and healthy. It’s good for you, and it’s good for the environment. And if you like trees, feel free to share this post with your friends!
Removing a tree seems like a big, yet relatively simple job, but that is not necessarily so. While is can be done by anyone with a little willpower and strength, it is best to leave it to the professionals because there are so many mistakes that can be made in the removal process.
- Not removing the stumps: Leaving the stump after removing a tree is asking for an infestation of insects, and potentially the worst kind – Termites. Termites can move from the stump into your home causing inconvenience and potential detriment to your home.
- Not wearing the right protective gear: At the minimum, hard hats, goggles, and gloves should be worn at all times. A hard hat will protect your head in the event that a branch falls or the tree happens to go in the wrong direction. Goggles will protect the eyes from debris falling from the tree or spit out by the chainsaw. Tree surfaces are rough and gloves are vital to protecting your hands against the trunk and the right gloves can even help save your hand if you get too close to a saw.
- Lack of awareness: Someone removing a tree should always be aware of their surroundings. There may be roots, cords, rocks, etc. that can be tripped over. When operating a chainsaw, you most certainly don’t want an unexpected fall with a running chainsaw landing on you. Always make sure that you have the chain locked when not cutting or when walking around because a split second of forgetfulness or becoming unaware of what is around you, could be life-threatening.
- Removing the “wrong” trees: Homeowners should consider the state and location of the tree they are hoping to remove. Dead and dying trees, or trees with sickness should be properly removed. However, some trees could leave a negative and expensive effect on your overall landscape. Consider how much work and money you want to put into your landscaping after removal.
- Not planning and escape: When felling a tree, it’s best to do so in the direction it is leaning, because that is likely the way it will fall. There are times when a tree doesn’t fall the way that you expect it to and you must be alert and aware of how to get out of danger. Find an escape in either direction that the tree may fall and be prepared to use it.
Tree removal can be beneficial to the health and beauty of a landscape, but it’s important to consider that there are times that things go wrong. If removing a tree yourself, consider the risks and common mistakes that are made before you move forward. Professionals are well-equipped, experienced, and prepared to handle almost any situation.
Friendly Tree Experts are here for all of your tree removal needs. Contact us today for an assessment.
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