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.
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.
Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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
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
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
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
For more info on transplanting trees, visit www.treesaregood.com
ISA Certified Arborist #TX-236
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