Benefits of Mulch


King of Splices
Mar 30, 2005
Snowless California
I made this list:

1. holds moisture
2. moderates soil and root temperature
3. cushions roots, reduces soil compaction
4. prevents soil erosion from wind and water
5. adds organic matter to soil
6. suppresses weed growth
7. minimizes weed wacker and lawn mower damage
8. makes tree look tidy and pretty
9. increases root growth
10. makes trees easy to find (when planted in overgrown areas)
11. reduces soil "crusting", increasing water penetration
12. keeps green waste out of the dump

What am I missing?

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
you mean like:




Improves soil structure. Can prevent soil borne pathogens from splashing onto the plants. Increases water movement and absorption into the soil.

Don't forget to mention that some types of mulch can be harmful (allelopathic).

Mulches can reduce the crusting effect of soil and thus allow more water "movement" into the soil.

Creates a market for one of our industries' most abundant waste products.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10
That's a good one. Even if you are giving it away, at least you don't have to pay to dump it, and you are also keeping it out of the landfill...

Allows you to not 'rape' that part of the land for recycling nutrients if you are mulching back what you are removing from that local. Naturally, the tree would mine the elements, then have that relative balance of elements back; and only mine the remainder.

Otherwise, my main addition is kinda already covered in some ways. Mulch leaves a breathable layer on top; so that the more compact sea of soil can be raw membrane from the top down. If there is no other protectant /bare soil; the top layer of soil must 'die off' from raw elemeant exposure; then the sea of soil /living membrane starts beneath this layer. But, the denser/ dead soil is harder to breath through than mulch. It is smaller particulate, less concave points, more consistent convex and less pourus a material; all serving to pack tighter. Oxygen will only go down so far into the soil; so now(with no mulch/dead top soil as 'cap') it (oxygen penetration)is limited by depth(as it would be anyway) and also by it's shallowness part being less alive/ dynamic. Leaving less useable/dynamic sea of soil in between the 2 layers(depth and dead soil) IMLHO.

i like breaking soil compression into 2 things it protects by:
spreading out the footprint of forces to less psi(static or dynamic force), and
shock absorber for less impact forces(dynamic protection only).
Uncompressed soil is key. i think a cup of healthy soil; should be half a cup of air space for transportation and storage of oxygen, water etc. And that many organisms work on developing this.

Also; suppresses weeds/competition fits further into 2 sub-categories:
roots can't reach dirt to take hold
and blocks light from soil. Then, even there are enough extra elements to grow something to compete; it can be trapped as it dies off to feed the locale; otherwise those nutrients would get washed away.
I agree that mulch 100% beneficial. Although I've always been taught not to pack the mulch so hard around the trunk of the tree because it can cause trunk rot (to much moisture?)
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  • #13
Yep, on mature trees you could leave 3' around the tree NOT mulched and the tree would be happy. There should be a ratio. It might be 2:1? 2' DBH tree should have a 1' area around it with no mulch? Hmmm....

But yeah, on my trees, the mulch starts AWAY from the trees.
Creates a barrier against foot traffic / Reduces soil compaction.
(I think Spydie said this in a thousand words or less ??? My bad.)
Reduces rather than prevents, that's good!

I Loooooooooove mulch:notworthy:

Maybe the best thing an arborist can do for a tree?

Fights soil pathogens by building the forces of soil symbionts and beneficial microbes. The enzymatic activity of decaying organic matter creates an environment inhospitable to disease.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are at war with the evil fungi that seek to bring down our charges, the trees. We must enlist the aid of our allies, and mulch is the key player.

Look at the December issue of TCI--Percival's study showed that hawthorn mulch suppresses disease. This is the tip of the research iceberg--we must learn more about our stalwart ally.

And yes keep it off the trunk; tank youse berry much!
Actually, i think it is the job of the low branches or rows of trunks in the woods to reduce and break up foot traffic(even after the branches or trunk's deaths) to compact the rich sea of soil. The lower branches on the outer skirt also reduce light from sides, as well as draw/trail water away from trunk.

All the leaves actually reduce or 'anemify' the useful light by mining/stripping the red band out(thus leaving the cooler bands of yellow + blue = green looking leaves). The red band being most useful to the tree, especially for rooting and budding(?); thereby another check against competition taking hold/root; and even if it does so; then it is harder for it to 'fruit'/perpetuate it's own kind. So, this anemic light works in tandem with the mulch to limit competition by the real king of the jungle territories; that it takes for it's own. As these things are orchestrations of efforts; of checks and balances to the same end. Trees can't wander to a richer feeding ground; so in their wisdom; they try to do the next best thing and make one! Including giving the leaf 2 choices in this wisdom, to stay on the tree and store and feed nutrients, or to fall to the ground and store and feed nutrients...

If we follow the example of a real good root crown, we see the tree itself trying to ramp it's own mulch away from it's trunk. This own mulch would fall lightly and slowly over time, not in our thick layer. But, as we suddenly place thick layer, we should compensate and follow this example.
Pines are not native to this part of the country but we have them as transplants. It was told to me that a person should allow the pine straw[needles] to accumulate under the trees to add the natural nutrients back into the living tree ,such as in would get in it's native mountain environment.

What I know about tree care would fit in a shot glass with room left over.I can prune them,climb them and cut them but have no idea how to feed them.:?
technically you cant 'feed them', you can provide minerals, water and light which plants use to manufacture 'food' ;)
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  • #21
Actually, Paul, sunlight radiates from my that makes me the only person in the world that can "feed" trees. The rest of you have to rely on the sun to feed the trees!

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming.