Q: Are tree mats better than mulch for trees?
A: I’ve never used them because I like the organic material provided by mulch but have heard good things about them. If one doesn’t want to mulch a young tree then the skirts would be my next choice. It’s important to not have grass growing up to a young tree’s trunk (It’s also beneficial for older trees).
You can get tree mats that are made out of natural fibers that will decay over time. They may not provide as much in the way of nutrients as mulch, but they may easier to maintain than mulch.