Fall Mulching

With winter rapidly approaching, now is a good time to help protect your landscaping shrubs and plants from winter weather by adding mulch.  In the spring and summer, mulch helps retain moisture, control weeds, and prevent erosion.  In the winter, mulch insulates the soil and helps protect roots from freeze damage. 

Mulching in the fall will help keep the ground temperatures more even.  The ground will be slower to freeze and slower to thaw.  Particularly in the fall and spring, this freezing and thawing cycle can cause the soil to heave and expose roots to the freezing air.  Mulching now will help avoid this problem and protect roots from exposure.  Mulching will also keep the soil from freezing as deeply.  This encourages worms to stay active closer to the surface and allows plants and shrubs to continue to absorb moisture.

One thing to consider is that mulching in the fall will keep the soil from freezing longer which will delay when some plants go dormant.  If you have plants that may be adversely affected by delayed dormancy, wait to mulch until the soil has frozen for the season.  Then you can take advantage of fall mulching without harming these plants. 

Applying two to three inches of bark mulch, pine mulch, pine straw, or other organic mulches will do a good job of protecting your shrubs and plants from winter weather.  Too much mulch can be detrimental, and too little will not get the job done.   In the spring, your plants and shrubs will be healthy and ready for another season of enhancing the beauty of your home and landscape.