Do trees NEED mulch? And can a tree survive severed roots?

    Listen 00:53:42

    Do trees really NEED mulch? And can their roots be safely severed during construction? On this week’s episode of You Bet Your Garden, host Mike McGrath reveals some surprising truths about trees. Plus: Square Foot Gardening legend Mel Bartholomew. And your fabulous phone calls!

    Questions of the Week:

    I’m about to put an addition on my house that will require a foundation being built approximately six to eight feet from a well-established maple tree that’s about 30 to 40 feet high. The builder says there’s a chance the tree will die when the roots are cut during trenching. Is there anything I can do to help increase the tree’s odds of survival? Many thanks,
    —Mia in Yellow Springs, OH

    Do I really need to mulch around my trees or is it just a matter of aesthetics? I don’t like the ‘mulched circle’ look around the base of trees, so when I planted mine about twenty years ago, I just let grass grow up to the trunks. It looks natural. But recently a tree trimmer said that my trees looked “dry” and that I should dig out the grass and mulch them. Sounds crazy to me. What do you think?
    —Rob in Clarksville, MD

    Learn the truth about trees »

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