July 30


How Rubber Mulch Rings Impact Your Trees

By Noel D.

July 30, 2018

mulch, rubber mulch, tree care

Usually, you’ll hear that one of the most effective steps that you can take for the health of your trees is to place rubber compost or rubber mulch rings around them. In a lot of cases, adding a mulch ring or mulch of any kind will certainly treat numerous issues that you may face with your trees. Mulch really does seem like a miracle worker of sorts for your trees– it reduces the number of weeds in the soil around the tree, aids with moisture retention keeps soil temperature level, and it looks far better than the ordinary ground does in many instances.

Nonetheless, the issue isn’t really with the compost itself– the problem is with the rubber mulch rings that a lot of people utilize around their trees. While many homeowners and novice gardeners believe that these are the very best method to improve your tree’s wellness, it might actually do more harm than good.

Sure, rubber compost rings are easier to lay compared to natural compost. They might even look much better than natural compost.

Nonetheless, rubber mulch rings have a couple of downsides that may make you reconsider your rubber compost:

Adds Soil to the Trunk

bird on tree
Credit: Hedera Blatica
  • Builds up wetness around the trunk of the tree
  • Creates tree bark degeneration and softens bark
  • Spreads fungus

Among the most significant reasons that individuals get mulch rings are to make their backyards look much more uniform and also to make yard maintenance easier– yet just what is taking place under those rings? Whatever is warming up as well as creating a wasteland of toxic substances that leach out of the rubber. As that warms up, your tree’s trunk and any kind of visible roots begin to soften, which leaves them susceptible to diseases, rot, and breakage.

Soil isn’t always great for your trees – especially when it is packed around the base. SFGate explains why: “Soil added around a tree reduces the amount of oxygen available to the roots and slows the rate of gas exchange in and around the roots. There may be less moisture and nutrients available to the roots or too much moisture may remain around the tree’s roots. Inadequate oxygen reaching the roots or microorganisms in the soil around the roots can lead to an accumulation of chemicals that can injure tree roots. The tree’s bark may decay where soil is newly in contact with it. Damage or injury to the tree because of the added soil may not become apparent for several months or years and generally appears as a slow decline followed by death.”

Root Girding

Credit: David Ohmer
  • Leads to too much dieback
  • Ultimately leads to scorch
  • Makes tree susceptible to other conditions

When a tree is girdled, there is something wrapped tightly around its trunk. In this case, that something is the rubber compost mat. This soil and undergrowth covering grows carefully to the base of the tree or, if buried, the mat can even cause girdling underground, which is even more dangerous. Girdling is dangerous in any form since it cuts off the circulation of necessary nutrients as well as water to the rest of the tree. While some water and nutrients are able to get to the tree, there will not nearly be enough for the tree to be healthy and balanced. With time, your tree will begin to die.

Eventually, our tree will start to look really, really different when it has actually been strangled alive by a girdling origin. Generally, the tree’s trunk will start to flare out near the ground. In some trees, the roots will sometimes restrain the appearance of the flare and, instead, you may see the tree getting narrower, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. They say thatThe threat depends on the size of the root and the amount of the tree’s circumference affected. It is almost impossible to predict if a developing girdling root will cause problems for a tree. However, if a tree has girdling roots it is more likely to have problems than one without them.”

Can Cut Oxygen Supply Off

Credit: FD Richards

– Your roots need oxygen in order to prosper

– Tree growth will certainly feat

– Ultimately, the tree may suffocate

All plants, including trees, require oxygen to carry out their daily needs. This is because without accessibility to pure oxygen, the trees could not perform something called cardio respiration and also photosynthesis, which most people know about. This process uses water, carbon dioxide, and the sunlight’s energy to generate oxygen as well as sugar – both necessary for the tree’s survival. This takes place all over the tree, yet not in the roots, according to USCB Science Line.

The tree has the ability to obtain air from the dirt near the roots to carry out photosynthesis, though it is somewhat reduced- yet with mulch, it is more likely that the soil is compacted and therefore doesn’t have as much air. The dirt remains moist which leads to compression regardless of what the climate is– as well as the mats keep it this way. Some individuals think that the soggy earth below the mat is terrific since it means the tree is obtaining water– however that isn’t the case. Instead, your tree is drowning. This is why you may consistently overwater your greenery, such as trees or potted plants.

There are so many other options apart from rubber mulch coverings to help your tree feel and look its best. While this is a very easy option in the short term, it isn’t really going to be the very best choice for you (or your trees) (or your budget) in the long term. You are just going to have other troubles later on — troubles that will need far more work and professional help than a simple project like spreading out natural mulch around your tree.

Keep in mind that a few of these issues can occur with all-natural compost as well, though they aren’t as bad to fix or as common. You do have to be careful when you spread out mulch (you may want to seek professionals) and you have to always monitor your tree for any type of problems that you see.

Contact Arbortec Tree Service for all your tree care needs. Our team of professionals can help you with every one of your tree treatment needs – we can aid you at any stage of the tree ownership process, from growing and planting your trees to pruning and cutting it down – and also of course, laying mulch around your trees. If you are having difficulty making mulching choices that fit your trees’ need, we can help there as well.

If you interested in placing mulch around the trees in your yard or you need help caring for trees that you have, make sure to give Arbortec Tree Service a call at (303) 466-3175.

Header photo courtesy of Jean and Fred on Flickr!
About the author

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Contact Us for a Free Estimate