The Q&A Archives: Mulch

Question: I had some stumps ground and the man left bags of the ground tree for me to dispose of. Can I use it as mulch? They were sycamore trees.

Answer: You can certainly use this as mulch around trees and shrubs, or you can add it to your compost pile. Sawdust and fresh wood chips can pull nitrogen from the soil, so it is better to either allow it to age prior to use, or use it to top up existing mulch, or broadcast a small amount of general purpose granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 prior to spreading it. Also, if the material is very fine (like sawdust) you should spread it only in a shallow layer (less than two inches) or mix it with another mulch material with a larger particle size, such as bark chips or nuggets, to keep it from compacting into a solid layer that prevents water from reaching the soil. Whichever way you go, apply the mulch in a flat layer over the root zone; keep it several inches away from the trunk/stems.

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