Last week, we discussed a few of the bylaws surrounding how Calgarians can use their yards. One rule we mentioned was that Calgarians moving into new homes are required to plant trees. Many Calgarians have voiced their concern about not being able to keep trees alive. Using the right mulch can help.
Research out of Kansas State University found that by following best mulching practices, a young tree can benefit from a growth rate close to double than that of trees without mulch. This is especially true for hardwood trees, which can see their growth rate increase by at least 75-85%. There are several reasons why mulch is such a huge benefit to new trees.
First of all, it prevents weeds. At a minimum, a medium or coarse all-natural mulch should reduce the number of weeds by 45%. By using landscaping fabric and applying a thick layer of natural mulch, you can see a reduction as great as 85% by the second year. This means your tree won’t be competing with weeds for nutrients and water.
Speaking of water, a study from Washington State University shows that by using the right amount of an all natural mulch, homeowners can significantly reduce how much water their trees need. Natural mulches reduce water evaporation by about 35% — synthetic mulches were far less effective. For ideal water retention, choose a medium-textured mulch. Additionally, you may want to mix fine or very fine mulch into your soil. Fine mulch absorbs and holds onto water very well. On the surface, that can mean the water stays trapped in the fine mulch and never makes its way down to your tree’s roots. However, mixed into a premium soil blend (as found in KINGS Premium Garden Mix) these fine pieces of mulch will help retain water right where your trees need it most.
Finally, natural mulches help to feed your trees. As the bottom layer of mulch slowly decomposes, it releases a constant stream of readily available nutrition to your tree. Fine mulch decomposes the most quickly, which is why we recommend choosing a premium soil blend with fine mulch mixed into it directly. Research out of the University of California found that trees with mulch had greater availability of vital nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
When it comes to providing your new trees with the best mulch, you’ll want to choose an all-natural mulch (our favourite mulches are made from tree bark or recycled wood chips). Synthetic mulches don’t provide the same benefits — especially in terms of water retention. You’ll also want a variety of sizes in order for your trees to enjoy all the benefits that mulch has to offer.
- Fine or extra fine mulch should be blended into your soil directly to trap moisture near your tree’s roots.
- On the ground, circling out from your tree’s trunk, you’ll want a 2 inch layer of medium texture mulch. This size of mulch is perfect for allowing water to drain into the soil while safeguarding against excessive evaporation.
- Finally, finish off with a 1 inch layer of coarse mulch. Coarse mulch is the best size for limiting the growth of weeds.
Remember that mulch should not touch your tree’s trunk. Spread out your mulch in a doughnut shape, leaving at least 2 or 3 inches of clearance around the tree’s trunk. When mulch comes in direct contact with your tree’s bark, the tree can rot. As your tree grows, be sure to move your mulch further back to prevent contact.
When it comes to helping your new trees thrive, Soil Kings is here to help! From our premium soil blends to all natural mulches in a variety of sizes, we have everything you need to feed your trees and let them reach for the sky. During this time of social distancing, our online ordering and delivery option make it exceptionally easy for Albertans to order and receive their landscaping supplies contact free.