Mulching treatments promoted understory communities in Colorado forests

View brief.

This brief presents the following findings:

  • Overall, mulching treatments in three Colorado conifer forest types promoted denser and more diverse native understory plant communities, particularly over the longer-term.
  • The positive effect of mulching on understory plants was largely driven by the response of herbaceous plants; shrubs showed little response to mulching treatments.
  • Exotic plants tended to be more common in mulched stands than in untreated stands.
  • While understory plants in mulched stands could be heavily suppressed in localized areas where mulch contributed to a deep forest floor, these areas were rare.