Mulching the trees in landscapes is a common practice, with many benefits.  Just remember, there is right way and a wrong way to mulch trees, according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“One of the most common mistakes is arranging the mulch ring around the tree in the shape of a volcano instead of a doughnut,” Byers said. “Mulching against the tree trunk can lead to trunk problems, disease problems, habitat for rodents and excessive soil moisture and root rots.”

Mulching involves placing materials on the soil to improve growing conditions and ease maintenance.

The benefits of mulching are numerous: helps maintain soil moisture, helps control weeds, keeps lawn mowers and string trimmers at bay, easier maintenance, appearance and improves the soil.

A number of things can be used for mulch. Most commonly used are bark chips, wood chips, composts and pine needles.

The best way to mulch is using a two- to four-inch layer of mulch. Then be sure to mulch a large area.

“When it comes to mulching trees, the larger the better,” Byers said. “You might even consider mulching to the drip line of the tree.”

For more information on this and other lawn and garden questions, call the University of Missouri Master Gardener Helpline at the Greene County Extension Center, 417-881-8909.

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