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2024 Mequon Arbor Day Report

Susie Granzow, Ozaukee Master Gardener

Mulch (and other forms of torture)

Once again I represented Ozaukee Master Gardeners (OzMG) at the Mequon Arbor Day on April 28, 2024. I’ve been working our booth at this event since 2007. This year the topic for the OzMG booth and handout was about proper tree mulching and planting, “Mulch (and other forms of torture)”. See image below. The title, emphasizes the consequences of improper mulching. Pictures included mulch volcanoes made of wood chips, soil/lawn buildup, soil and pavers, all meant to protect the tree from mowers and string trimmers, but all contributing to rotting tree bark resulting in trees that are susceptible to insects and disease, and breaking off in high winds. Also included were examples of girdling roots due to improper planting and tips for proper planting and mulching.

In a nutshell, trees do NOT like turtlenecks! Instead, mulch so the tree looks like it is wearing a loose-necked T-shirt. Mulch should not touch the trunk or root flare. It would be better to spread that tall mound of mulch outwards to the drip line and only 2-4” deep. Remember when you plant, the root flare should be visible for the whole life of the tree, not buried in the ground or in mulch.

Nate Herlache, Mequon Forester and OzMG Suzie Granzow at the OzMG booth.


Visitors checking out booths at the Mequon Arbor Day event.

OzMG Arbor Day table display.

 “Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky.”

  • Kahlil Gibran


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