Friday, April 24, 2015

Do your trees need mulching? Find out here!

With spring here, you might be out working in your yard but something that is often overlooked is mulching trees. All trees can benefit from mulch. It provides numerous benefits, including improving overall tree health by providing needed nutrients and reducing moisture loss.

What is mulch?
Mulch is a layer of organic material, such as compost, shredded wood or bark, or inorganic material such as pea gravel, that is spread on top of soil. It creates a healthy, attractive yard that requires less water and weeding. Mulch also suppresses the growth of weeds and helps protect your tree’s roots from extreme temperature changes through insulation.

Proper mulch depth is between 5-10 cm.
Mulching a tree for the first time? 
Put a five to 10 centimetre layer of mulch around the base of the tree leaving space to expose the trunk. When mulch is piled against the trunk it may negatively impact the health of the tree. In order to get the full benefits of mulching, you want to a depth of five to 10 cm. Too much mulch can lead to excessive moisture at the roots, nutrient deficiencies, fluctuating moisture, girdling roots and encourage pests and rodents. Often this happens over time, so be sure to check the mulch depth each time. 

What do I do if I am re-mulching? 
If mulch is present around your tree, be sure to check the depth. If it is already five to 10 centimetres deep, work on improving the mulch that is there by breaking up any larges pieces with a shovel. This is also a great time to make sure the trunk is exposed and the mulch hasn’t piled against it. If this is the case, clear the mulch back approximately 10 centimetres from the base.

Are there alternatives to buying mulch? 
You can use what you have in your own yard with a little bit of preparation! If you have wood chips, tree bark and/or leaves around your yard already, you can put them in your composter for two to three months. After this period of time you will have usable mulch that you can place around established trees and shrubs.

Free mulch!
Come to a Community Tree Resource Fair this spring and receive free mulch for your trees. We will be at the following locations:
·        Saturday, May 9 – Disaster Alley at McMahon Stadium
·        Sunday, May 17 – South Glenmore Park 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
·        Sunday, June 14 – Prairie Winds Park 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
·        Sunday, June 28 – Bowness Park 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information on caring for your trees, tree events, and tree planting opportunities in Calgary, visit calgary.ca/trees

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