Mulching around trees

I have several trees with established sod right up to the tree trunk. They are a pain to mow around. I can only get so close with the riding mower or the push mower, so I have to run around with the string trimmer and take care of the rest. I hate running the string trimmer, as they do not make one that I can operate without crouching and killing my back.
The only way I can figure to mulch these trees "the right way" is to remove all the sod from around the roots, install a border, and fill with mulch.
These trees have lots of roots near the surface, and digging out the sod is going to be tedious at best, with impossible being the most likely scenario.
Installing one of those plastic flush-to-ground borders will be even more fun, as I will have to scribe and cut clearances for all the roots all the way around the tree. I don't want to trade one weed- wacking job for another, having to trim around a raised border.
Can I just mark a circle, spray the sod with Roundup, cut in an edge about 18"-24" from the tree trunk, and dump a bunch of mulch on it? I don't want to kill the trees.
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On Apr 27, 10:04 am, snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

I wouldn't bother trying to remove or chemically kill the sod. Just get some plastic weed control mesh, cut circles of it, place over the sod around trunk. Then cover the mesh with about 8 inches of hardwood mulch in a nice cone. It will take all season for any grass to regrow up through all that and be seen. Next spring do it again. Each tree will take less than 2 minutes, I just did all my trees this weekend.
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RickH wrote:

I have about 20-30 trees, including some 8 or so 5 year old apple trees (just starting to produce fruit) that I have just thrown mulch around (right over the lawn/grass) so that my rider mower can cut around them. When the grass grows thru a bit of Round Up - weed killer solves the problem. Have been doing this now for about 4-5 years with great success. Trees (and gardens) need fresh mulch about every other year. Location - central NH --- paul
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snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote: ...

Other suggestions are ok although most extension services don't recommend mulching deeply all the way to the trunk itself, particularly fruit trees. It becomes a location for attack by insects, particularly various borers.
--
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dpb wrote:

Deep mulch can kill a tree, although it would probably have to cover most of the root zone. Up against the trunk, mulch invites insects and disease.
If do-able, you might consider planting hosta around the trees. Hosta are hardy, don't need much light, and come in quite a few different varieties/coloration. I would kill the grass with roundup and plant hosta.
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On Apr 27, 10:04 am, snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

I quit using a trimmer years ago on my 70 trees, once or twice a year its roundup, then in a few weeks when its nice and brown I use a Propane Weed Burner and get a nice black dirt ring around the tree. The weed burner has a small tank and long pipe like a cane, so its no effort and easy on the back. Get real ingitor like used on acetilene torches to lite the wand. Mulch costs alot and is more work
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On Apr 27, 10:04 am, snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

If you are worried about chemically killing the grass in fear of affecting the tree health. I found that you can kill grass by heavy hand applying some 10-10-10 fertilizer in the circle diameter. It will be enough over-fertilization to kill the grass, but at the same time it will benefit the tree. End result, killed grass, and a fertilized tree.
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On Mon, 27 Apr 2009 08:04:31 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

I'd use the RoundUp, but skip the mulch. Avoid cutting/damaging tree roots. Some trees are very vulnerable to disease from physical damage, like dogwood trees. Some landscapers make volcano-style mulch mounds around trees, they should know better that this is not a good thing to pile mulch against the bark. Of course, the workers are paid to make plants/trees look good, not necessarily for plant health.
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snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote in

When we wanted to kill the previous owners' lawn, we just put a heavy layer of newspapers on the grass. Killed it just fine after a while.
Hostas are indeed coming in all kinds, from teensy bright green leaves to huge almost metal-blue ones. They bloom in al sorts of white and blue colors; they die down in winter and come up again next spring. Daylilies are totally different plants.
I think that no plants close to a tree trunk would be best, and that grass may be next best.
--
Best regards
Han
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