Look out around the natural forests of the world. They do Ok. Consider the magnificent Redwoods in California! The Boab trees in central Australia. These are great examples of self-sufficiency and success. As an Arborist I see a lot of trees being killed with kindness, well-meaning people mind you. When we take trees out of their natural environment, that is when problems can arise. Mulching helps simulate trees natural environment in the fungal dominated soils of the forests. Trees naturally mulch themselves through each season and life cycle; dropping leaves, twigs, dead branches and eventually the trees themselves. All this adds to the organic material on the forest floor. Nature’s wonderful recycling station turning it back into rich soil. This is the beautiful effect of trees living in community and subsequently mulching each other.
However, in the urban environment, our gardens, roadsides, schools and parks, this natural process can be hindered, broken or stopped altogether. Hence, understanding basic tree biology, what trees require to live and thrive is of utmost importance in caring for our trees in the urban environment.
Some of the benefits of mulching include: retaining moisture, regulating root temperature, controlling weeds, increasing beneficial microorganisms, preventing soil erosion, and protecting trees.
As you mulch and help the tree mulch itself, you will be amazed at the compounding effect on the soil over time. The organic material will break down and turn in beautiful rich composted soil that trees love. As the soil improves the overall health of the tree improves. Healthy trees are much more resistant to pests and disease. Therefore, mulching is the best and easiest thing you can do for your trees!
So get mulching!
Phil Hackett is a local arborist and owner of Eden Trees & Arboriculture Services – edentrees.com.au