Mulch Not Just for Looks

Many contractors choose mulch because of the well-cared-for look it gives a landscape.

With mulch the result can be a better growing environment for trees and their roots. Landscapers should be aware that, generally, the root system of a tree spreads out, not down. “The roots of most trees extend out a significant distance from the trunk. Most of the fine absorbing roots of trees are located within inches of the soil surface,” says Jim Skiera, executive director of the International Society of Arboriculture. These shallow roots are essential for taking up water and minerals for trees, and they require oxygen to survive. A thin layer of mulch, spread widely, can provide a healthier environment where these roots grow.

By Sonia Abney Garth, marketing coordinator, International Society of Arboriculture; and Sharon Lilly, ISA board certified master arborist.

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