The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 |

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Proper mulching key to tree health

Village Forestry officials say mulching a tree is one of the best ways you can care for a tree, but they warn it is important to do it correctly. Far too often parkway and landscape trees are mulched improperly where mulch is piled up against the trunk of the tree. This practice of volcano mulching can greatly reduce a tree’s lifespan as stem girdling roots are more likely to form that can eventually girdle and kill the tree. Additionally, a tree’s trunk stays permanently damp and can begin to rot due to excess mulching. If not killed, the tree often underperforms and growth is stunted. Residents and their landscaping contractors are asked to follow a few simple guidelines if they plan to mulch or landscape trees this spring:

  • Avoid piling mulch against the trunk. 
  • Instead, spread out the mulch and increase its depth as you move further from the trunk. 
  • Make sure the root collar, which is where the trunk widens and transitions into roots, remains visible. 

These steps will help your tree stay healthy and ensure it provides more shade during hot summer days. For more information about the care of Oak Park’s urban forest, visit or email