Tree Rings around the trunk

Has anyone used the tree rings to put around the trunk of your trees? They come in different materials and also different sizes. I’ll probably use the 2’ or 3’ versions. Not sure what the advantages/disadvantages of the different materials would be. I have my fruit trees in a field and need to bring the grass area away from the trunks. I had been cutting the grass away from the small trunks but it is getting harder and harder to get down and do that. Instead of the nice grass I had growing there the weeds and other crabgrass is taking its place. I was hoping that maybe these tree rings would be the answer.
Thank you for your help and advice with this issue.

A good thick layer of mulch will keep weeds down and also help retain moisture

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Mike, I used to use tree rings that were made of shredded car tires, but I learned that stuff leaches out of them into the soil and into the tree and into you … so I quit it. I’ve managed OK since with landscape fabric covered with rocks and such. Like Speedster says, mulch has its benefits. If you can mulch with stable manure (tordon-free, of course) so much the better.

Here’s how I used to turn grass into a deep mulch around my orchard trees. I had an indestructible old Gravely riding mower that had an easy way to raise or lower the mower deck with a lever. First I would lower the deck to scalping height and, starting close to the tree trunk mow in circles discharging the clippings out away from the tree. I scalped a ten foot diameter circle this way. Then I raised up the mower deck to normal height and reversed the direction I circled the trunk. Starting out far away from the trunk I would go in circles blowing all that scalped grass back toward the tree trunk. If you do this artfully you end up with a six to eight foot diameter circle of deep, deep grass mulch and no weeds.


WHY “use to”?

I sold that farm in 2005. Plus I lost most of the orchard to fireblight. If there had been an internet back in 1977 someone might have warned me not to try to grow NY and Vermont apples in hot, humid MD. Back then I did not know Southern apples existed. So I’m growing orchard version 2.0


haha. Ok…just wondering if it caused a problem or anything. Thanks

I plan on using mulch on top of the tree rings as the grass dies off. The reason I was looking at using the tree rings is so speed the process of killing off the grass in a nice round area around the tree. Some are made from coco fibers so that product probably is not bad for leaching into the tree itself. Just making the tree interior size bigger using the coco fiber seems to be the biggest complaint with that product. As everyone that has ever used mulch knows that stuff just does not last long at all. It seems to quickly disintegrate into nothing. With the tree rings down around the tree at least I will have something down all the time. I was wondering what other side effects and bad experiences were associated with using these things.

You can also use cardboard covered with mulch. That will entend the longevity and is biodegrable.


Ditto what @speedster1 said…except I use coarse wood chip mulch on top. I save up cardboard from shipments I get for my business but used to pick them up from the grocer. And, worms love cardboard.
The best wood chips for mulching are the ones collected in winter when trees are dormant (no green leaves) That wood doesn’t break down as fast esp if you keep it dry by stirring it up and letting the air get to the lower layers. Wet mulch breaks down faster.


Probably the course wood chips would not break down as fast. The regular mulch breaks down so fast, IMO. I put it around my house one year and then the next year it looks like I have not mulched much very much at all. I used 90 bags of mulch around my house two years ago and now it looks like it needs it again. That is the biggest scam ever introduced by nursery people, mulch, hahaha. My parents never mulched anything around their plants and flowers and they did fine. I remember putting coffee grounds around the roses. Plus maybe, maybe some mulched up leaves if there were some laying around in the springtime. Times have changed haven’t they?

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I still would like some feedback from anyone that has used these pre-made tree rings. I know places like the big box stores sell them. They seem pretty quick and easy to use.

I’ve used them, got nothing against them, but seem to do OK without them now. Maybe I should haul them out again for my plum, but the pear’s trunk is shaded and the apple seems indifferent. I don’t paint the trunks, which may be a mistake. So far, so good (said the man falling from the top of a 100 story building as he passed the 50th floor).

Put them on around Halloween and take them off around Easter is what I was told.

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I thought you left them down all year long. You can run over the edges with the mower if necessary they are so flat on the ground. I was under the assumption they were to keep the grass and weeds from growing up to the trunk. At least while they are smaller and the mover and weed trimming can do damage to the smaller ones if hit. The bigger trees I have no use for the rings. they are established and I can get close enough to them with the mover and weed trimmer.
I need to start painting the trunks of mt trees as well. Some are getting too big for the plastic wraps I had been using.

Mike, I got confused- I had forgotten my earlier response and was thinking of those things you wrap around the trunk! Half-heimers is settin’ in.

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I understand completely. Too many things in our heads to keep straight. I do use those plastic things that wrap around the trunk as well. You are correct there. I put them on in the late fall and take them off in the spring. They seem to work. However, I do need to switch over to painting them white. Some are getting too big around to use the plastic things any longer.

I stopped using the rubber ones too, they can damage new shoots coming up and cause nasty shoot bleeding.

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Thank you for your reply. That was what I was worried about . That as well as how hot does it get under that rubber part when the sun hits it all day long in August when it gets in the 100 degree temperature area for days at a time. To me it would seem it would bake those roots, especially the small hair roots.

My smallish backyard orchard gets cardboard laid down with wood mulch on top of that. Lasts about 2 years before needing to be replaced. At that time the cardboard is gone. Make sure you remove all tape. Also be careful if you have a vole problems because they LOVE to live under the cardboard in winter. Has not been a huge issue by me.

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