An oak tree is an investment in the future. By planting a small oak tree and tending it carefully, it will grow through the years to provide beauty and shade in a landscape. Moisture in the soil around an oak tree is an important consideration. To retain moisture and eliminate weeds, many gardeners mulch around the base of a live oak tree. Mulch will also help to keep the soil temperature from becoming too warm during the summer months.
Spread the tarp nearby the work area to hold the soil and grass as you remove it.
Use the shovel to remove the top layer of grass and soil from around the base of the oak tree. Place the soil and grass onto the tarp. Remove enough grass and soil so that the mulch layer will be between 2 and 4 inches deep. Leave a 2-inch-wide border around the base of the tree so that the mulch will not come into direct contact with the tree. Make the mulch area extend out several feet.
Add a border or edging around the outside edge of the prepared area. Use stones or special plastic edging according to your desires. If you are using separate edging pieces, place the edging pieces tightly against each other around the entire perimeter of the prepared area. If you are using a plastic edging that is one long piece, place it along the entire perimeter so that the top of the edging extends above the soil level. Anchor the bottom portion of the edging into the soil according to the edging recommendations.
Add the mulch to the prepared area, filling the area with mulch until the mulch is roughly even with the surrounding grass or soil.
Rake the mulch smooth with the rake so that it is level. Smooth it out so that it extends from the tree out to the outer perimeter along the border or edging.
Pull up the tarp and either store the top soil for another purpose or discard the removed materials.