"There is more to tree planting than just digging a hole!"
That's the message from our Park Ranger Craig who's back with a blog all about the powers of mulching and the technique that can be transferred easily to your garden at home!
Read Craig's full blog below….
"Over the last couple of weeks, the Rangers have been planting trees in Brooklands, creating closer links with South Downs National Park Authority, as well beginning work on creating a living willow dome. It has been great to see the public coming out and wanting to make a difference in their area, helping to support their parks to make improvement for future generations.
As those who attended quickly realised, there is more to tree planting than just digging a hole. One of the most important aspects is mulching. Mulching provides many benefits for the tree, more than simply suppressing the weeds. Weeds attempt to out compete young trees or attempt to strangle them, mulching suppressed them but also acts like the leaf litter or dead wood you would find in a woodland area. This layer in the wild is mulched down by millions of organisms, creating a fertile soil, the more organisms in a soil the more fertile that soil becomes, these are good bacteria. Mulch allows for nutrients to go back into the soil, giving the tree this vital resource helps it be become established in its early years. Mulch is essentially baby food for young trees.
This mulch also acts like a lid for the tree and holds in the moisture near the tree acting like a constant drip, so not all is lost a few days after a heavy rain. Mulch also increases the humidity in the area around the tree, which allows for a more thriving community of bacteria. It is also important for young trees to have old mulch and not brand new chippings. New chippings need to be broken down and the tree wastes its own energy to put nitrates back in the soil, diverting valuable energy from its own development.
This is a very basic management technique and can be transferred easily to your own gardens. Mulching acts like deadwood in woodland, it puts food back into the soil. This is the natural process that would happen, without this mulch the tree would not survive; soil needs to be enriched to allow for more life. The rangers are dedicated to this process, and are taking less cuttings of organic matter away from the sites, allowing for this enrichment of soil and helping the thriving wildlife.
For more information or wish to know more about the natural process the Rangers are beginning to implement in your parks, please get in contact with the Ranger team."