Width of mulch rows

This was talked about a year or two ago but I can’t seem to find the thread. I’m going to plant trees in rows, maybe 4’X100’, and cover the entire row with mulch. What is the optimum row width for fast tree growth? 3’, 4’, 5’?

I seem to remember the width isn’t too important, but what do y’all think?



There are a few factors such as are they Espalier, standards, semi-dwarfs, dwarfs? Will the trees stay there or will you just grow them out there? What kind of trees are they and what do you plant to do with them? Like as an example I planted 3 acres of aronia 20’ between rows so a vehicle can drive through them. The plants are very close 8’ apart in the row. Pears I might allow 20’-25’ between rows if I’m growing dwarfs using an intensive system with maybe 15’ between trees in the row. Pears could also be dwarfed by quince which would be much closer together than say dwarfed by ohxf333 rootstock. Soil is a factor as well because in my heavy clay loam a tree might get only half it’s size that it would in deep fertile river bottom ground. I hope that helps. I would use wood mulch at the base of the trees and mow the rows. You will get a lot of different opinions on this and all will be right. As I mow I throw the mulched grass clipping towards the plants for moisture and nutrients. You can barely see my original wood chips now after several years.

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Thanks Clark. I should clarify; is 4’x100’ ok for the mulch? Would 3’x100’ be just as good? Or do I need more than 4’?

Fwiw, trees will be 10 ft apart in a row; rows will be 10 or 13 ft apart; they’ll be apples on m111, jujubee’s, pears on cally, figs, persimmons, etc

I seem to remember the width of the mulch isn’t too important but I’m not sure

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Sure 4’ would be great. The width is not to important for small trees. Usually I try to mulch the width of the branches. 3’ x 100’ would be just as good I think. You are doing it primarily for moisture and weed control correct? I know it goes beyond the scope of your question though you might benefit by looking at these charts and links if you have time on the apples, pears, rootstocks, pollen etc. Scion can influence size as well as rootstock having influence. I would pay particular attention to get fireblight resistant rootstock. Callery are very resistant to fireblight but need a bit more room.


I just planted 100 spruce trees. I laid down 3’ landscaping cloth then mulched. I might not have bothered with the landscaping cloth if they were very fast growing trees like poplur or willow