Mulching Planting STWN news

Mulch Mats are GO!

A shout out to the The Sicon Foundation

The STWN is extremely grateful to The Sicon Foundation for funding the purchase of over 9,000 biodegradable mulch mats and 46,000 bamboo fixing pegs. It doesn’t sound very glamorous but these small jute squares are an important part of our tree planting philosophy. We have already distributed mats and pegs to our Tree Wardens with their Woodland Trust Tree Packs for this season’s plantings.

Newly planted trees at Wortham protected with The Sicon Foundation mulch mats

The mats have also been used for larger plantings at Redgrave Park and Helmingham. We believe that our mulch mats will greatly decrease tree losses in the first two years after planting. Mulch mats are also set to increase growth rates. They will suppress grasses and other weeds and help to retain moisture. As they slowly rot down, the mats release low dose nutrients to the tree roots.

Climate change predicts our winters will be wetter and our summers drier. So, we must adapt our tree planting and protection methods and take good care of our newly planted trees. The very dry conditions in the spring of 2020 and 2021 strengthened our recommendation to mulch as many of the newly planted trees as possible. Our Sicon Foundation biodegradable jute mats are a quick, easy and relatively inexpensive way of mulching.

Mulching or spraying? Hmm, this is a tricky question. Many planters feel they need to spray around the tree base with glyphosate, but others strongly oppose using chemical herbicides. Mulching is a safe alternative and this is why we are particular grateful to The Sicon Foundation, especially Natasha Ingram, for their support in such an important and worthwhile way. We very much hope to be able to continue our co-operation in future years. Thank you Sicon.

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