The farmers are hard at work mulching all of the tree seedlings that were planted in March! Each seedling receives a ring of decomposed woodchips, piled high around the edge to form a bowl shape. The mulch protects the young tree from the elements, helping to collect and funnel rainwater toward the delicate roots and slowing water loss from the surrounding soil. As the wood chips continue to decompose in the fields, nutrients are added to the soil where they can be used by the growing tree. On steep hillsides, mulch also helps to prevent erosion (along with fescue grasses planted in the fields).