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I've got several mature trees in my yard. I just moved into the home and for the last two years not a lot of care was given to the trees. As a first step I've removed all the trees that were scattered around the tree step.

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Question

  • Other than pruning what other measures can be taken to take care of a mature tree?
  • Should I cover the stem with mulch? Should the mulch be mixed with something?
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Honestly, in most cases mature trees don't need our help. It looks like you have a lovely wooded lot.

I would remove (or have removed) any branches or trees that are dead and might be a hazard (could fall on a house or a person). I would not prune the trees just to prune them.

If you have grass that you will be mowing around some of the trees, I would mulch those trees - just to keep the grass away from the trunk, so you are not taking a mower right up to the trunk or exposed roots and damaging them. I would not mulch or fertilize the trees otherwise.

If there are any invasive plants/shrubs/trees which are taking over, you could remove those as well.

Otherwise, a natural area like that is very low maintenance. It's evolved to do just fine on its own without us.

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    Agree totally with Michelle's answer, but would add, never pile anything up the bark of the trunk - if you do mulch, just do it on the ground at the base. – Bamboo Apr 11 '13 at 21:52
  • Mulch that covers the bark of trees/shrubs will eventually kill those plants. In other words, mulch is best spread out away from the base of the woody stem. Do not cover any 'bark' with anything. Bamboo meant this and mulch helps improve the soil by feeding organisms in the soil that then assist the plant to uptake necessary chemicals to use to make its own food. Covering up the bark of trees and shrubs allows bacteria into the rotting bark and essentially 'girdles' a woody perennial. Mulch thinly within the canopy's drip-line on top of the soil. Stay away from the bark of the stem. – stormy Jan 14 '15 at 21:20
  • I apologize if I made it sound like one should place the mulch right up against the stem/trunk. That isn't what I intended. – michelle Jan 15 '15 at 17:42

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