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Mulch around a newly planted tree is it’s best friend with these benefits listed by the Arbor Day Foundation.

  • Insulates the soil, helping to provide a buffer from heat and cold.
  • Retains water to help the roots stay moist.
  • Keeps weeds out to avoid root competition.
  • Prevents soil compaction.
  • Reduces lawn mower damage.

Mulching provides so many benefits -most important of all is a fast growing tree.  Research has proven that by placing a 3-6 foot natural mulch ring around your tree can double the growth rate.  

Remove all grass that will compete for the trees water supply.  The mulch should be 2-4 inches deep and not directly touching the bark.  The ring should be like bagel with a 3-6 inch hole in middle. More is not better, although you can see examples of how not to mulch in your neighborhood.  This results in reduced oxygen to the soil and will slow growth or result in death of the tree. The mulch will slowly be reduced as weather decomposes and wind blows it away so this is a yearly maintenance item in your yard.  The best mulch is organic wood chips so choose the one that fits your taste and budget.

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Native species of plants in Texas provide habitat for 632 of 914 birds found in North America providing cover, nesting sites and food.  One native oak can support 500 species of caterpillars while you will find only 5 varieties can be found on an Asian variety. One pair of chickadees needs 6000-9000 caterpillars to raise a single clutch so you can understand why it is paramount to our ecosystem to plant native and not exotic.  Urban landscapes are filled with exotic plants, buildings, hardscape and exotic plants. Texas A & M Forest lists 15 species of native oak trees that are found in the State so if you have room for this large tree in your landscape it will be bird-friendly and a joy to watch.  

Some species of birds feed on the acorns-scrub jay, magpies, wood ducks, wild turkeys, mountain quail, flickers and woodpeckers.  Many other insects that thrive on oak trees are food for many others including warblers, tanagers, vireos and orioles. The canopy of an oak, between 40 and 80 feet, has very strong branches, large leaves and drops leaves later than most deciduous trees and also this tree is incredibly hardy resistant to disease and insects.  Spanish moss often grows in the branches and can be home to the Northern Parula that seeks this for nesting. Even dead oak trees can be home to barn owls and wood ducks that nest in their cavities. An oak tree is truly and community of living organisms that support many species of birds.