Mulching Around Trees - Knowledgebase Question

china spring, TX
Avatar for hturnage
Question by hturnage
December 28, 1997
I have St Augustine grass growing around a tree and I want to build a border around it out of treated wood. I want to put some kind of mulch or small rocks inside. Do I use landscape fabric on the grass inside of the wood border and right up to the tree or what?

Answer from NGA
December 28, 1997
Your plan is a good one. Usually tree trunks suffer from weed whacker blight when grass is allowed to grow right up to them. Use caution when working with treated wood - you should wear gloves, mask and goggles while sawing, since particles of sawdust containing cyanide compounds can make you sick if absorbed by the body. Keep children and pets away from the border for a while until the wood has lost some of its surface toxin. NEVER BURN TREATED WOOD, EITHER - THE FUMES ARE TOXIC!

Probably the best approach would be to hand dig and remove the grass in the area you want to border off. If you don't, the grass is likely to pop right through the weed barrier and take over the area again. After you've removed the grass you can put down landscape fabric and place stones right up to the trunk of the tree. If you use bark chips or other organic material for mulch, you'll want to brush it away slightly so it's not in direct contact with the tree trunk. Bark chips can hold moisture against the tree trunk and can invite disease. If you want to plant flowers or a groundcover inside the border, landscape fabric covered with soil would eliminate the need to remove the grass.

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