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I just planted a cherry tree, and it has a light amount of mulching (mostly fragments of dried-up mulch). I'm not sure if I've mulched enough, or if I can (or should) mulch it more.

Is there some rule of thumb on how much to mulch a tree? For example, if I barricade around it with topsoil, should I put the mulch only on the outer part of the topsoil and on top?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

For "general" tree planting (care) information refer to this answer here on SE:

  • With the leftover soil make a watering doughnut (approx 100mm high and 1000mm diameter) around the tree.

  • Fill the doughnut with 50 to 75mm of mulch (personally I would use good quality compost), start approx 100mm to 150mm away from the trunk* of the tree and work out to the watering doughnut. Using compost as a mulch in this situation has the added benefit of feeding the tree naturally and slowly. Then add a fresh 25mm to 50mm layer when needed (usually once a year).

*You never want anything covering the trunk flare. The trunk flare needs to "breathe". A sure way to make a healthy tree, unhealthy (eventually killing it, if the problem is not rectified) is to do something like volcano mulch.

Good luck! and enjoy your plumb tree.

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My tree is NOT grafted. Does that make a difference? –  ashes999 Sep 9 '11 at 15:40
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@ashes999 Will what make a difference? Grafted or not, mulch should never touch a tree trunk or a plant, for the overall health of the tree, plant... –  Mike Perry Sep 9 '11 at 15:46
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@ashes: Mike's answer on the linked question is a good general-purpose guide for most trees. The OP there had a grafted tree, but it does not affect the answer. –  bstpierre Sep 13 '11 at 17:05
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