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Landscaping Tip: How to mulch cedar trees

by on April 9, 2014

Cedar trees are a favorite tree to plant on many Long Island landscapes and are relatively easy to take care of due to its drought tolerance. This tree has a pyramidal shape and grows relatively slow. There are different varieties of cedar trees and their height varies from one species to another. The eastern red cedar typically grows anywhere from 30 to 50 feet high, while the western red cedar can reach heights of up to 200 feet (however this is usually only typical for western red cedars that grow in the wild).

Many homeowners or commercial property owners use cedar trees as a pleasant-looking privacy screen. Others may plant cedar trees for the purpose of being windbreaks or hedges. Whatever the reason you choose to introduce cedars onto your Long Island landscape, Long Island landscaping specialists say mulch is an important part of caring for this special tree. Mulch will help keep the soil around the tree damp and loose.

Your Long Island landscaping professional can help you select the best type of mulch for your cedar tree. There are several different options:

  • Sawdust or straw: Cost-effective, but doesn’t offer much in the way of nutrients to the soil.
  • Bark nuggets/wood chips: Offer an eye-pleasing aspect to your Long Island landscape, has a slow rate of decomposition and stays put even through strong gusts of wind.
  • Composted yard waste: Cost-effective, eco-friendly and offers an abundance of nutrients.
  • Grass clippings: Making use of yard waste is always a plus, but Long Island landscaping authorities warn of using grass clipping too much. The clippings can become compacted when frequent or hard rain occurs and stop moisture from being absorbed into the soil, dehydrating the roots of your cedar tree.

Once you have decided on the right kind of mulch for you, you or your Long Island landscaping professional will need to pull out all of the weeds around the area to be mulched, so the mulch can be applied to bare soil. If mulch is applied on top of existing weeds, it will not only appear unkempt, but it also won’t prevent the growth of the weeds.

An area of three to six feet in diameter and two to four inches thick around the tree should be covered with high-quality mulch during any time of the year except in the beginning of spring. The ground is still thawing from the cold weather and the soil and the roots need time to thaw and respond to the warming sun. Mulch will prevent that transfer of heat. Although you want a wide area around the tree to be mulched, leave a gap of about six inches between the base of the tree and the mulch to deter insects and other unwanted pests.

If you want more information on mulching your cedar tree, call your local Long Island landscaping professional for expert advice.

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