Iowa naturalists are pushing recycled wood chips, or mulch, as the smartest way to ensure newly planted trees take root and thrive. D-N-R environmental specialist Amber Sauser says there are many types of mulch with which Iowans should become familiar, especially wood mulch.Forest soil has a nutrient-packed layer of natural organic material that helps plants grow by protecting delicate roots from temperature extremes, bugs and water evaporation. While soil in an urban environment often lacks this vital layer, Sauser says Iowans can recreate it using mulch.Sauser, who works out of the Manchester D-N-R office, says more than 225-thousand tons of wood waste ends up in Iowa landfills every year. If more consumers choose Iowa-made mulch, she says it’d help the small business economy and the landfills. To properly apply mulch on new trees, she says to mark a circle around the tree at the dripline, or along the outermost edge of the branches.The state has launched a website dedicated to filling Iowans in on the mulching process, at “www.mulchiowa.com”. It describes the varieties of mulch, how to apply it and where to buy it.