Tree Care Basics: Mulching

Should I put mulch around my trees?

Yes! Chipped woody material, sometimes called "arborist chips," give the soil and your trees added nutrients, help retain much needed moisture, regulate soil temperature and reduce weeds. Combined, these can even help your tree grow faster.

How do I properly mulch a tree?

Spread 2-6 inches of mulch evenly around the tree. Leave some space around the trunk and avoid mounding the mulch against the trunk like a volcano. As a general rule, you should be able to see the root flare - this is the spot where the tree trunk and and the roots begin. Rake the mulch out to the furthest edges of the tree's canopy. This is also called the drip line - when the tree gets wet, extra water sheds to the ground in this area, much like water falls off an umbrella. Mulch will help capture this moisture.

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Where can I learn more about the science?

The Elisabeth C Miller Library and University of Washington Botanic Gardens Gardening Answers database provides more details.

Now, how do I get chips?

If you want a delivery of chips from an arborist, we suggest ChipDrop - a free service we actually use at our own home in Seattle.

What if I'm still not sure what to do?

Please contact Tree133 if you have specific questions about how to use mulch to improve your trees' health.