Bark Mulch or Rock Mulch: Which is Better for Garden Beds?

Alamo Tree Pruning

Mulch is great for gardens, helping to retain moisture, protect plants and adding a decorative finish to your beds. Mulch can greatly improve the condition of your garden, replenish the soil and keep your garden neat and maintained. But when it comes to mulching your garden, wood mulch is not the only option. There are many choices of material for mulch, but two of the most common and popular are bark or wood mulch and rock mulch. Both of these mulch types perform the essential functions of retaining moisture in soil and keeping the soil insulated. Here we look at the difference between these two mulch types and which is better for your garden beds.

Bark or Wood Mulch

Bark and wood mulch are organic mulch types that are made from shredded bark or wood. Wood and bark mulch are naturally brown or black, however they can be dyed a variety of colors to match your tastes. Bark and wood mulches are available from professional arborists, who obtain the mulch from healthy trees. Natural wood or bark mulch has an appearance like wood chips or small pieces of bark. It also releases a natural earthy smell when placed on your garden.

One of the most significant and distinctive benefits of wood and bark mulch is that it decomposes and adds nutrients and nitrogen to your soil. Wood and bark mulch is also inexpensive, has a more natural appearance, and looks great in every garden bed. Wood and bark mulch effectively form a preventative barrier against weed growth and help avoid the need for edging material. Wood and bark mulch are also relatively soft and make it easy to garden even with the mulch covering.

However, there are also some disadvantages of wood and bark mulch. One of the most significant disadvantages is that wood and bark mulch needs to be replaced every 1 to 2 years as the mulch breaks down or is washed away. The vibrant color of wood and bark mulch can also fade in sunlight. Wood and bark mulch can potentially draw in pests and insects attracted to the small, broken pieces of wood.

Rock Mulch

Rock mulch offers a polished and flawless coverage for your garden beds. Rock mulch consists of any type of stones or gravel used to provide cover and protection for garden beds. The size of the rocks can range from very small to as large as a fist, and rock mulch is available in a variety of colors.

One of the greatest benefits of rock mulch is that it does not need to be replaced as often as wood and bark mulch. Rock mulch is hardy and won’t wash away or decompose.  Rock mulch can also be ideal for sloped gardens as it holds its position well.

Rock mulch is much more expensive than wood and bark mulch, but it also lasts longer. While rock mulch doesn’t decompose, it may wear thin overtime, and you will need to find the same rock type and color to replace your coverage. One of the disadvantages of rock mulch is that weeds can grow through the gaps in the rock especially if organic matter and debris is allowed to collect on the surface of the rock mulch. Rock mulch is also heavy and difficult to remove if you change your mind or decide to add or take away plants from your garden.

Which Is The Best Choice For You?

Choosing the right mulch type for your garden beds depends on the type of plants you have and the look you’re going for. For plants that need extra nourishment, stable soil temperatures, and potentially moving or replanting, wood or bark mulch is best. if your plants can withstand higher soil temperatures and require less nutrients and nitrogen in the soil, rock mulch may be the best choice for you.

Having a local arborist inspect and analyze your garden bed and plants can help you identify the right mulch choice for you .

When Do Trees Grow Their New Leaves?

Concord Tree Care

 

While bare branches and naked landscapes are the telltale signs of winter, we expectantly await fresh, new growth in the spring. Warmer weather is the trees’ cue to leaf out and present their new springtime growth. But how do trees know when to grow their new leaves? And is there any way for us to predict this phenomenon?

While we can’t pinpoint with accuracy the date that trees will begin to sprout their new growth, there are various ways we can estimate the approximate timing by observing the environmental patterns trees respond to. This can help us to establish when to expect new growth by and how to best care for our trees to ensure they put forth new growth on time.

The Cue for Trees to Leaf Out

Trees sprout their new leaves according to temperature changes that are usually associated with going from winter to spring. During cold weather, it doesn’t make sense for trees to sprout new growth, with less water availability and sunlight. But once the weather starts warming up again, it’s time to capitalize on the increased sunlight and water availability.

Trees respond to two different aspects of our changing seasons. First, there must be a period of prolonged cold weather, at chilling temperatures between 25 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps to juxtapose the incoming warmer weather. These cooler temperatures trigger the balance of hormones and enzymes needed to break out new growth when warmer temperatures come.

While new growth won’t break through on the first warm day, once the days are more consistently warm, it signals to the tree that spring is here and it’s time for new growth.

Secondly trees respond to the longer days and shorter nights that come with changing seasons, syncing their new growth with the signals of spring.

What If Your Trees Don’t Sprout New Growth

There are several factors that can affect or inhibit new tree growth. Whereas trees have been shown to adapt to changing climate conditions, sudden changes can mean that trees don’t receive enough chilling to break dormancy once warmer weather comes.

If your tree seems to be barren but other trees in your area are sprouting new leaves and branches, don’t panic. It may be that your particular species of tree breaks out a little later than others. This is a normal phenomenon.

If you do become concerned that your tree is remaining leafless for longer than seems normal, contact your local arborist. An arborist will not only be able to diagnose any specific issues with your particular tree, but can also help you understand any local environmental trends that may be affecting new growth this year. If a tree is green inside, it’s still alive and waiting for its time to sprout forth.

However, if your tree doesn’t sprout or the new growth is shriveled or black you may need an arborist’s expert assistance to correct the issue.

While all trees sprout their new springtime growth on their own timing, if you’re concerned about your trees new growth, contact your local arborist for professional advice.

Who’s Responsible For Trimming That Tree?

Alamo Tree Care

 

If you have trees in your garden, it is your responsibility to provide tree care and tree trimming. But what about trees from other properties that over hang onto yours? What about trees that are starting to infringe on public property or power lines that no one else seems to trim? Could it be that you’re also responsible for trimming those trees? Here we look at the responsibilities of tree ownership, and when you can (and should) trim trees.

Trees Growing On Your Property

Trees growing on a property remain the responsibility of the owner of that property. This means that no matter where the tree branches hang, if the tree trunk is growing is growing on your property, it is your responsibility. Taking care of a tree on your property means checking that it’s free of pests and diseases. This is important as an infected tree can begin to infect the trees around it as well causing widespread problems in an area.

It’s also important to have the branches of the tree you own trimmed regularly. Overgrown branches can infringe onto neighbors properties and public property, and can create a hazard if they grow too large and fall. Taking responsibility for the trees and plants on your property is an essential component of tree care and health.

Trees Overhanging On Your Property

One of the most common complaints that councils receive is that a tree branch is hanging over a fence and into a neighbor’s property. Neglecting to prune and care for a tree means that it’s branches can quickly start growing into other’s properties. These branches pose a problem by taking up extra space, dropping leaves, fruits or seeds, and creating a potential hazard with falling branches.

Fortunately, if you find your neighbor’s branches have overgrown, and they have now grown over the property line, you are entitled to trim them. However you may only trim these branches up to the property line. It is also interesting to note that you are not legally allowed to eat the fruit on branches of a tree that hang on your property. You also must be careful not to affect the tree in any way that could kill or severely damage it. If you cut too many branches or roots and it ends up destroying a tree on a neighbor’s property, you may need to provide compensation for that tree.

Trees And Plants On The Boundary Line

For trees and plants (such as hedges) that sit directly on top of the property boundary lines between you and your neighbor’s home, the question of ownership and responsibility is a bit more complicated. It may be that for trees and plants directly on the boundary line, both owners retain an interest and responsibility for the tree. For any decision involving trees and plants on the property line it’s good to discuss with your neighbor how to best approach their care and how to trim the trees.

Trees Growing Onto Public Property And Power Lines

It’s always best to avoid planting trees in a position that could infringe upon power lines. You may not be able to trim the trees on your property that a growing close to powerlines, as this can be dangerous.  Call a local arborist to trim the trees near your powerline or otherwise you can contact the local electrical company for safe and effective tree trimming.

Ultimately, it’s best to gain as much information as possible, and to talk to your neighbor or local authority before trimming a tree if there is any uncertainty.

The Effect of Rain Storms on Trees

Lafayette Tree Service

Rain storms can be both positive and detrimental for trees. On one hand, rain storms provide essential water to feed and fuel trees while the force of storm winds also strengthens trees and their roots. But similarly, the power of storms can damage trees, stripping them of leaves and branches, and even completely uprooting them. This becomes a major concern when large trees are growing in close proximity to dwellings or businesses. Understanding the effect of storms on trees is important for both home and business owners, as well as landscapers and professional arborists. This understanding can not only allow us to protect trees from storms and prevent storm damage, but also helps us to make the most of the benefits of rain storms on trees.

The Benefits of Rain Storms

Rain storms don’t have only negative effects on trees. Rain storms are also very beneficial for trees. Tree root systems are uniquely designed to hold large volumes of water if necessary, acting as reservoirs for storm water that helps to reduce flooding. This also acts as a source of water and nourishment for the trees when water supplies are low.

Rain storms usually include strong winds as well, and these can provide a beneficial effect for trees. Occasional strong winds help to strengthen trees and provide reinforced root systems to prevent trees bending, breaking or being uprooted. Research has shown that trees will specifically grow stronger in one direction to protect themselves from strong winds that consistently approach from one side.

How Rain Storms Can Negatively Affect Trees

Of course, the negative effects of rain storms on trees are often clearly seen in the aftermath of rough weather. Fallen branches, cracked, broken and split trunks, and completely uprooted trees can frequently be seen after bad storms. Rain storms can cause property damage for houses and businesses when trees fall on buildings, or branches go through windows. The stripping of leaves and branches from trees can also result in costly clean-up and to maintain the safety of outdoor areas.

How To Manage Storm Damaged Trees

If you have a storm damaged tree on your property, it’s important to control the damage as soon as possible. For minor issues, such as fallen branches and leaves, a simple clean up should eliminate the hazards on the ground, and regular tree care should help your tree recover.

However, more severe or complicated tree damage such as split or cracked trees or uprooted trees may require the work on an arborist to correct. A skilled arborist can prune your tree or remove your tree to control damage and remove hazards. Stump grinding can help to remove traces of a fallen tree and allow you the opportunity to regenerate your garden and replace the tree. It’s best to remove fallen or dead trees promptly, as they can rot or act as reservoirs for pests and disease if left fallen.

How To Prevent Tree Storm Damage

Regular tree care and arborist service helps to keep trees strong and healthy, and reduce the impacts of storm damage. Corrective pruning can eliminate issues as soon as they start, while cabling and bracing can protect weak branches. It’s important to pay close attention to dead or diseased trees, as these trees can be more likely to fall in the event of a rain storm.

By monitoring and correctly pruning the trees on your property, you can avoid tree and property damage, and allow your trees to take advantage of rain storms with less of the drawbacks.

4 Situations Where Trees Need Protection

Tree Service Concord

 

Throughout history, trees have been a source of shelter and protection for humans. Trees still provide protection by functioning as windbreaks, stabilizing soil, helping the land to store rainwater, and moderating soil and air temperatures. However nowadays, our trees are more likely to be treasured for their role as ornaments for our homes and gardens. While trees still provide protection for us, there are some situations where trees need our protection to grow and flourish.

Weather

Because we now plant trees outside of their natural habitat, we often need to protect trees from weather conditions that might negatively affect them. Most trees are wind resistant, bending and moving naturally with the wind. However, allowing your tree to become overgrown puts the tree at greater risk of succumbing to high winds. Professional tree pruning allows you to keep your tree’s branches in check and protects your trees from windy weather.

Cold weather can also affect trees. Paying attention to the outdoor temperatures and the forecast for the winter months can help you adequately protect vulnerable trees. If it is possible to move the trees or shrubs (because they are potted), move them to a more protected location. Other susceptible trees can be covered in a burlap, tarp or sheet frost cover to protect from cold weather. Talk to your local arborist about the specific needs of the trees in your garden, and how to best protect them during harsh weather.

Pests

Pests can be a normal part of every garden, but left to get out of control they can destroy your trees and plants. Protecting your trees from pests involves paying close attention to the state of your trees and your garden to monitor pest activity and stay prepared. Of course, you can always use spray pesticides to manage pests, but many homeowners prefer to avoid these. Instead, consulting with your local arborist about pest control and maintaining a clean and tidy area around trees helps protect trees from pests and limit pest attacks in the first place.

Home Construction

Building a new home or a new addition to a home is an exciting time, but the existing trees in your landscape need to be taken into account. Protecting trees during building construction should be a priority as trees offer so much to a property, including bolstering property values. Discussing your construction plans with a tree specialist or arborist can help you develop a plan that takes your existing trees into account and protects them from damage.

Exposed Tree Roots

Exposed tree roots can be an eyesore and a hazard, so what should homeowners do about them? Tree roots become exposed not because they grow above the ground, but because the soil that originally covered them has eroded away. The easy solution to protecting these roots from the lawn mower blade (and protecting the roots from being trip hazards) is to add a circle of mulch around the tree base. This offers a more stable solution to keeping the roots protected and minimizing trips.

While trees offer us the most protection, there are times when they need our protection as well. Developing a plan to protect your trees with your local arborist helps to keep your trees healthy, so they can continue to add beauty to your home for years to come.

Danville Tree Removal

Berkeley Tree Removal

The following is a video of a redwood being removed in Danville, California.