Trees growing in the forest tend to grow in soils that are rich in layers of humus which is repeatedly enriched by the decomposition of plant and animal residues. The decay of plant material such as leaves tend to be high in nutrients which when broken down become an available source of nutrient for trees in the forest. However, in the urban and suburban environment these layers of humus no longer exist. They have typically been striped or altered during the development and construction of new homes and subdivisions. Soils in these areas tend to be compacted, poorly aerated and poorly drained.
An ounce of prevention = a pound of cure
Properly selected fertilizers administered by mechanical means have the ability to improve soil structure while replenishing nutrient and micronutrients to the soil. These nutrients are essential for improving root and top growth for trees and other plant material within the urban landscape.
What is mulch?
Mulch is a material placed over the soil surface. There are many benefits to using mulch. By mulching we can reduce water loss from the soil while improving soil structure. Mulching can even suppress weeds and prevent weed eater and lawn mower damage to tree trunks. Depending on the types of mulch being used mulch can improve soil fertility and even dress up the landscape. Mulching is probably the most beneficial application available for improving and maintaining the health of trees in the urban landscape.
It is important to note that although fertilization and mulching provide countless benefits to the urban landscape. Improper application or over fertilization and mulching can have an equally negative effect on the landscape.