Wood Chip Mulching Around Maples: Effect on Tree Growth and Soil Characteristics
Stephen W. Fraedrich and Donald L Ham
Abstract: Studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of wood chip mulch on tree growth, soil properties and certain soil microorganisms. Plots were established with red and sugar maples on a clay loam soil and silver maples on a sandy loam soil. Mulched silver maples on the sandy loam soil had significantly greater height, diameter, root and current-year shoot growth than those not mulched. Only current-year shoot growth of the mulched red and sugar maples was significantly greater than the non-mulched ones on the clay loam soil. On mulched plots on the clay loam, soil moisture remained higher throughout the study, and soil temperature was lower during the spring and summer. Most soil physical and chemical properties were unaffected after one year of the mulch treatment, as were population levels of two potential disease-causing fungi and plant parasitic nematodes in the clay loam.