Learn to plant and maintain strong, healthy trees that will thrive for generations.


Using wood chip mulch is one of the easiest ways to protect and nourish trees while saving water.

Benefits of mulch:

  • Retains moisture in the soil
  • Decomposes and releases nutrients into the soil
  • Maintains soil temperature and protects roots from extreme cold and heat
  • Discourages grass and weeds from growing near the tree trunk and competing for nutrients 
  • Reduces soil compaction so roots can breathe

 How to Mulch your Tree:

  • Get free wood chips from SMUD by calling (916) 732-5900 to check availability and hours then picking them up. You can also contact a local tree care company for mulch delivery, or purchase natural, wood chip mulch from your local garden store.
  • Remember the 4x4x6 rule: spread mulch in a 4-foot diameter around your tree, keep it 4 inches away from the trunk, and layer it 6 inches thick. It will look like a fluffy "mulch doughnut."
  • Wood chip mulch will slowly decompose and should be replenished as needed.

Mulch is NOT:

  • Rubber, rocks, decomposed granite, weed cloth, artificial turf, plastic
  • These can trap heat in the soil and cause damage to tree roots

Get others involved

Young and mature trees benefit from mulch. It's an easy, fun way to protect your community's canopy from things like weed-eaters, herbicides, and the California drought. Get others involved and plan a DIY Mulch Event for your neighborhood to keep every tree on your street safe and healthy.