How do I properly Mulch around a tree?


  • Over-mulching is a common occurrence. Commonly known as the ‘volcano’ method, over mulching can have severe consequences to a tree’s development
    • Oxygen and root suffocation. Over-mulching impedes a tree’s ability to breath.
    • Pest and disease. Over-mulching creates produces a perpetually moist area are the lower trunk of the tree. This condition is an open invite to fungal and insect activity.
    • Girdling roots. Over-mulching inhibits natural root development. Poor mulch application will cause roots to girdle making the tree more prone to failure during weather events.


  • Organic mulch or aged wood chips are great choices for tree pits.
    • Organic mulch is free to residents at our municipal services facility!
      • 85 Old Northport Road, Kings Park, 11754
      • 631-269-6600
  • While mulch can be applied any time of year its recommended to apply mulch at two specific times in the year.
    • Mid-spring as temperatures begin to rise.
    • Mid-fall as temperatures lower but before freezing.
  • Provide 2-4 inches within the tree’s dripline (extent of the canopy or tree branches).
  • Do not make contact with the tree trunk. Proper mulching should resemble a ‘donut’ appearance.

Other Tips

  • Past seasons mulch can be recycled by breaking up the material by hand or rake.
  • Check the depth! Adding new mulch over old mulch is the same as over-mulching.
  • Go for distance not height! Wider spread mulch is essential for proper root development.
  • Proper mulching can help avoid surface roots in the future!
  • Give us a call and one of the town’s arborists can provide advice for proper street tree mulching (631-360-7514)

Show All Answers

1. How Can I Help My Tree Stay Healthy?
2. How do I properly Mulch around a tree?
3. What do I do if I suspect an Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation?