Why Use Mulch Around Oak Trees

Why Use Mulch Around Oak Trees

Oak trees are a majestic and a valued part of the landscape around urban homes and in the countryside. Oak trees can live for hundreds of years when well maintained in suitable growing conditions. As a home or business owner, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure that your oak trees are healthy and will continue to provide beauty and shade for your property for a long time to come. Instead of using our sod delivery service, consider mulch delivery for areas under your oak trees.

Root Disturbance

Oak trees do not like to have their roots disturbed. As tempting as it may be, you should not plant bushes or ornamentals under the canopy of an oak tree. Most of the tree's roots grow just a few feet under the surface of the soil, and a shovel, rototiller or aggressive raking will damage the roots and may cause harm to the oak tree. Construction near the trunk of the tree or the addition of fill dirt to the area over the roots can also be damaging, so these activities should be avoided. 

Water: Too Much, Too Little

Landscaped lawn underneath an oak tree can be damaging as well. Oaks are susceptible to root disease which is established by moisture. Lawn or other ground covers under an established oak tree that require irrigation will bring too much water to the roots of the oak and potentially allow root disease to damage the roots and harm the tree. However, supplemental water should be provided regularly for newly planted oaks and established oaks that are enduring drought conditions. 

Mulch is the Answer

The best way to maintain your oak trees is to mulch the area underneath their canopy. Mulch will provide a beautiful, landscaped look while also preventing weed growth. Mulch is also instrumental in helping the soil retain natural moisture that benefits the oak tree. Mulch helps soils stay cool in the heat of summer and warm in the cold of winter which prevents the tree from experiencing shock in extreme weather conditions. 

Cautions for Applying Mulch

Mulch should be applied in a layer that is adequate to cover the soil; a layer that is three inches deep is typically adequate for weed control and moisture retention. The mulch should never be applied next to the trunk of the tree; this can cause moisture to collect at the base of the trunk, rotting away the collar of the bark and damaging the cambium layer which carries water and nutrients to the tree. The destruction of this layer - called girdling - will eventually kill the tree. Mulch should be kept well away from the bark of the tree, with the top of the flare of the roots clearly visible and exposed to the air.

Mulch will also break down over time, and along with the natural leaf litter it will provide nutrients back into the soil that will benefit the oak tree. Your mulched oak trees will look beautiful and remain healthy when you meet their needs with a layer of mulch.