The fresh spring air is finally starting to make its debut, and we’ll bet you’re itching to take a walk through your favorite outdoor spot.

The trees you see on your walk through the woods are not only a beautiful sight—they’re giving you a lesson to take back to your landscape!

Take a tip from trees in the natural setting when you tackle mulching. Proper tree mulching helps trees retain water, combat weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Below, we answer the most common questions about how to apply mulch to trees.  

Should I spread my compost pile around trees and shrubs in spring? Then add mulch on top?

Yes. Spread up to a 1-inch layer of compost around your plants, then let it work its way into the soil with rain or watering.

Then apply mulch in another 1-inch layer over top, keeping in mind our proper mulching methods below.

Our reader, Cynthia, recently asked this question. If you have any tree questions, post them in the comments section below, and we’ll get an answer for you shortly!

What is the best way to mulch a tree?

Spread 2 to 3 inches of mulch evenly around your tree underneath the canopy. More info on that is below!

The key is to let nature be your guide. Trees in a natural setting aren’t covered up to their trunks. A rule of thumb is to keep the trees’ root flare—the spot where the tree trunk ends and the roots begin—free of mulch.

Volcano mulching, or piling mulch up against the trunk or stem of a tree, creates a cool, damp hideaway that attracts disease and pests.

How much mulch should I apply to my trees?

2 to 4 inches of mulch layered around the base of your tree is all you need to start with. You can then add another inch every year, with or without the compost. In the autumn you can also rake leaves up from your yard and spread them under the canopy, then put an inch of mulch over them to hold in place for the winter and speed their decomposition - like making compost in place!

First, pile the mulch under your tree, then use a rake or pitchfork to evenly spread the mulch out to the furthest edges of the tree’s canopy.

Take a look at this Talking Trees video to see the process for yourself.

Mulching is just one way to protect your plants in the growing season.

Contact your local arborist for a FREE consultation! 

Related Blog Posts

Cedar Mulch
Soil Care & Mulching

Guide to Mulching: Is Cedar or Cypress Mulch Better?

One of the best things you can do to boost tree health is to create mulch rings around them. Outlined are the pros and cons of using cedar or cypress mulch.
Read More
Kitchen Compost Pile

What To Put In Compost To Start

Wondering what to put in compost to start? Learn how to make compost from kitchen waste and how to start a compost pile at home.
Read More

Sign Up For Free Tree & Landscaping Tips! 

Subscribe to the "The Sapling," the Davey Blog's email newsletter, for the latest tips to keep your outdoor space in tip-top shape throughout the year.

Plus, receive a free instant download of our landscape seasonal checklists when you sign up!

Two Employees
Two Employees

Get In Touch With Us!

We pride ourselves at Davey Tree on providing prompt, professional and personalized service from certified arborists that live, work and engage in your community. Contact one of our Davey Tree specialists for your residential, commercial, utility, or environmental needs.

Let's Find What
You're Looking For!