mulching newly planted trees

Hi, I have planted three trees (CrabApple, Amor Cherry). These trees were in burlap when I received them. I followed what my local tree nursery person suggested. I have spread mulch around the trees. However, i am not sure if that's a good thing to do for young trees. I have heard that putting mulch on newly planted trees causes harm for the tree. On the other hand, there is an opposite idea that mulching is a good idea for newly planted trees. Can you share your experinece with me about mulching the newly planted trees? Another questioon I have is about fertilizing these trees. i have applied the growth booster fetrtilizer. I mixed some of the powdery stuff into water, and spread it around trees. Is this enough for this year for my trees, or should I repeat the fertilizing process? If you have any other suggestion on how to take care of newly planted trees, please let me know.
thanks
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FardinA wrote:

Mulching trees is a good thing. It helps to moderate the temperature of the soil and helps retain moisture. Do not let the mulch touch the trunk. They may need supplemental watering for the first few years depending on your local weather conditions.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
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On Wed, 06 Jul 2005 17:50:07 GMT, "Travis"

I have always recommended the same, but, surprisingly, a recent article in the Journal of Arboriculture suggests otherwise:
"Survival of both species [green ash and goldenraintree] was usually best when bare soil was used, compared to applications of pine bark mulch. However, these plots were diligently maintained in a weed-free condition via careful hand weeding (no string trimmers) and use of herbicides. Mulches can be effective weed suppressants; hence, under different weed control regimes, or with different soils, environmental conditions, mulch types, or irrigation regimes, responses to mulches may vary.
Our results document the potentially damaging effects on tree growth and survival of planting even slightly below grade, particularly in combination with excess pine bark mulch applications. These adverse effects can persist for at least 3 years after transplanting planting and, in many cases, differential response became more pronounced over time." from "Planting Depth and Mulch Thickness Affect Establishment of Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) and Bougainvillea Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria bipinnata)" By Michael A. Arnold et. al., J of A Vol 31, no. 4, pp.163-6
Please note that the primary focus of the study was planting depth, and planting too deeply will take a much greater toll on a tree than mulch. The gist of the study seemed to be that too much mulch had roughly the same effect as too much soil (i.e., too deep), so if you plant at grade or above the mulch may still be a good idea. Note also that this is one recent study, whereas most of the industry has accepted for some time as common knowledge that mulching new trees is a good thing.
I also would like to stress that this was a study of new transplants; even if it applies broadly to other species, it has been demonstrated many times that an established landscape tree will benefit greatly from mulching.
So, make sure you removed the burlap and string at planting, and check to see if the root flares are visible at ground level. Frequently, b&b trees have been buried too deeply, so it may be necessary to remove some soil from the top of the ball to get to the proper depth. Difficult though it may be, I would go so far as to suggest digging it up and replanting it higher if it is too deep. It is that important.
Then, depending on how much stock you want to put in this study and how diligently you want to weed and irrigate, at least a thin layer of mulch may be in your near future. After the tree is established (if not before) get that up to 3" thick and cover as wide an area as you are willing.
For more info on transplanting trees, visit www.treesaregood.com
good luck, Keith Babberney ISA Certified Arborist #TX-236
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Treedweller wrote:

The discussion you cite is about below grade planting and excessive pine bark mulching.
I was talking about proper planting and proper mulching.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
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Travis wrote:

Oops. I thought I had read your whole post. Sorry.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
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mulching good volcano mulching bad
fertilizing established trees good fertilizing new trees bad
planting trees with root flair exposed very good planting too deep really bad

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