Colored bark mulch is a focal point at the tree's base.

How to Protect the Base of a Young Tree From a Weed Eater

by Mary Lougee

The combination of tree edging and adding mulch around a young tree protects it from damage caused by lawn care equipment, helps establish a good root system and alleviates the need for using tools like a Weed Eater near the tree trunk. Both items together also add beauty as well as functionality to your lawn. You will spend less time doing lawn work because you can use a lawn mower next to the edging.

1 Put on work gloves to protect your hands from blisters and cuts from tree edging.

2 Measure a circle of about 3 feet in diameter around your young tree. Mark the perimeter with flour. Flour will dissolve into the soil and not cause any harm.

3 Dig straight down with a spade along the flour markings to a depth that is about 1 inch less than the height of your rubber edging. Make a trench on the flour markings that is consistent in depth and about 2 inches wide.

4 Place a piece of rubber edging in the trench and snug it against the outer edge. Slide an edging coupler halfway into the top, round channel and slide the protruding coupler end into an additional piece of rubber edging to join additional pieces. Continue in this manner to fill the entire trench while bending the rubber to fit the trench.

5 Cut off excess rubber edging with tin snips on your last piece, and join the first and last together with an edging coupler.

6 Place an edging anchor tip on the outside bottom of the edging. Drive it into the edging with a hammer at a slight angle until the tip is flush with the edging. Add edging anchors every 3 to 4 feet around the edging.

7 Backfill the inside of the trench with the soil you removed from it and force it against the edging to hold the edging straight up against the vertical trench wall. Pack the soil down into the trench with your feet to remove air pockets.

8 Place a layer of bark mulch inside the edging up to the edging height. Keep the mulch at least 6 inches away from the tree trunk.

9 Water the bark mulch with a garden hose to moisten it and keep it in place.

Items you will need

  • Work gloves
  • Measuring tape
  • Flour
  • Spade
  • Rubber edging
  • Edging couplers
  • Tin snips
  • Edging anchors
  • Hammer
  • Bark mulch
  • Garden hose

Tips

  • Bark mulch around a tree reduces water evaporation to decrease the amount of irrigation needed by 25 to 50 percent.
  • Bark mulch prevents soil compaction and controls weed growth, so no weed cutting is necessary in the area.
  • Heavy rubber edging holds its shape for many years before it needs replacement. Less-expensive plastic edging can break down and crack within a shorter time period.

Warning

  • Placing bark mulch directly on a tree trunk keeps too much moisture against the bark. This can harm the tree.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images