I decided to go with a rubber mulch tree ring around the free in the front of our house. We have lived in this house for three years. Each year I buy more much to put around the tree. For $15 a Lowes, I hope this ring lasts for at least 10 years ($1.50 a year). That sounds better than buying and spreading much each year. I did decide to take out some of the dirt and old mulch under the ring to lower the ring to the ground. This should make mowing easier too.