Mulch For Mature Oaks

Q: What is the best mulch to use around mature oak trees? 

A: The absolute best mulch is hardwood chips from an arborist’s truck. The second-best mulch is pine chips with needles, and the third-best mulch for an oak tree is mixed wood chips and leaves. Pine bark chips and pine straw are easy to purchase and spread, but ultimately, they are not the best mulch for trees. They break down so slowly that the trees get no nutrients. Overall, it’s better for trees to receive fertilizer slowly throughout the year. Although you might not think of arborist chips as fertilizer, that’s what they are. Fungi and bacteria colonize the chips and release nutrients the tree needs. Mushrooms sprout, showing the healthy microsphere below. This, plus the normal functions of preventing weeds and holding moisture in the soil, makes hardwood chips the champ for tree mulch. You can sign up to receive free chips from local arborists at

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