We planted 46 dappled willow trees in a zigzag pattern about two years ago. The trees have a six foot spacing with quite a healthy lawn in between. We would like to place mulch over the grass between the trees so we don’t have to mow. What type of mulch is recommended and how should it be applied so the grass doesn’t grow through it?
Add a thick layer of mulch over the area and the grass should die within a month or so. It is important to leave several centimetres/inches between the edge of the mulched area and the tree trunks – to ensure the mulch does not affect the health of the trees. Water the mulched area only if winds might blow the mulch away.
There is no specific composition of mulch that is recommended – for example, bark, wood chips or raked leaves would all be effective. The heavier materials, like bark, decompose relatively slowly and are heavy enough not to blow away readily. As it sounds like you are planning to leave the area bare of plants, select a mulch that looks good in the area. Your local nursery experts may have some suggestions.
Another suggestion – it would be a good idea to remove dandelions and other perennial weeds before starting this project, as these can keep returning once the barrier and mulch have decomposed.
And just in case you are planning to replant in some of these newly-bare areas – don’t do so until at least 3 months later, so that you are sure that the grass has died and the barrier materials have broken down.
It sounds as though you have a very large property. You may want to experiment and start with a couple of spots, to make sure that you like the results! All the best with this big project.