Sod around pine tree

Asked November 9, 2017, 6:48 PM EST

We have a 20-30' white pine. This fall we put some sod down in that area, and put it up to 6" from the tree trunk. Is that ok, or should we remove some of it around the tree trunk? If so, how close to the tree trunk should we have the sod go?

Hennepin County Minnesota

5 Responses

The sod is too close to the trunk of the tree. Trees do best if they have mulch under there branches out to the drip line or the length of the longest branch. I hope you were able to put down the sod without tilling under the tree. If the roots were disturbed installing the sod give the tree extra care for the next 2 years at least. Make sure it gets an inch of water a week either from the hose or rain.

No, we did not till underneath the tree - just roughed it up a little and laid the sod on top of the bare ground.
Do we need to remove the sod that is too close now, or can we wait till spring? How is having sod on it different from mulch?

Sod is a strong competitor for water and it takes from the tree preventing them from getting enough, Mulch, properly applied, conserves moisture and keeps the soil under the tree cooler. The sod doesn't have to be removed not and it could be treated with Roundup next spring or 2-4 inches of mulch could be put over the sod and eventually the sod will be shaded out and die.

is there a type of mulch that is better, or types that should not be used? Wood chips? Leaves?

Leaves break down very quickly and tend to blow away. Wood chips last a long time and stay in place. Shredded bark if it is not too coarse stays in place, lasts, and is more attractive than wood chips with big pieces in it. Cypress mulch is not a sustainable product although it is good mulch. Hardwood mulches last the longest. Coco hulls attract dogs and critters. How shady and wet the site is will affect how long a mulch lasts. Mulch layers usually last a season or half a season so choose something you like and if it doesn't preform as you wish it can easily be changed in a couple of months. The breakdown of the mulch improves the soil under the tree and planting perennials looks nice, has no negative impact on the tree and fills in some of the space if you want to add them later.