Mulches Help Trees Beat Weed Competition

Mulches are an effective alternative to herbicides for protecting tree seedlings from competition with other plants for light, nutrients and moisture. Placed on the soil around the base of a tree seedling, they improve growth and survival by preventing other plants from germinating or growing.

Depending on their structure and the material they are made of, some mulches also help seedlings grow by increasing the temperature of the soil and holding that heat during cool evenings. These mulches can also protect plants from extreme hot and cold temperatures.

All mulches protect plants from dry conditions by trapping moisture beneath them. The most effective also allow air to reach the soil so that excess water can evaporate.

This Extension Note provides information about the kinds of mulches that are available and how to use them effectively.

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