Just like with planting spring flowering bulbs, let Thanksgiving serve as a reminder that it is time to mulch your flower beds and gardens to protect them from temperature extremes in the season ahead. If you mulch too soon, the frost-then-thaw cycle that is common this time of year has passed, so you do not have to worry about your plants “heaving” as a result. The soil is cold enough now that the plants should remain dormant, which is essential to their survival.
We all know that dew is the condensation of water drawn from the atmosphere but you may not know that it also consists of moisture from air pockets in the soil! Mulch helps keep that moisture from being wasted by preventing it from evaporating!
Mulching after day or two of rain is not essential but is nevertheless a good idea – the soil will be nice and moist. Laying mulch on top of too-dry soil can keep the rain from reaching the plants. 2-3 inches of mulch should be sufficient over your gardens and plants for water retention and temperature protection. Avoid dumping a mound of mulch on your plants – you risk smothering them, especially if you pile it up against the actual bark or trunk of trees an shrubs. (There are some exceptions to this rule such as Fall mums and hardy banana trees. Thicker layers of mulch where these plants are concerned can help with winter protection.)
There is a variety of mulch types offered here at EJC – two of our top recommendations for fall planting are Evergreen brand Shredded Pine Bark Mulch or Evergreen brand Pine Bark Mini Nuggets – both provide excellent moisture retention but most importantly both lock in plants winter dormancy. Many homeowners think the Large Pine Bark Nuggets are more attractive. Keep in mind, though, that due to their larger size, they do not insulate the roots as well. For aesthetic purposes they can sprinkled on top of existing mulch if you like.
Remember we offer bags of premium mulch and also have local hardwood mulch from the local forests available by the truckload for larger areas. We can fill your pickup if you prefer or schedule it to be delivered to your home (delivery charge is applicable). Lastly, after mulching, it is wise to sprinkle on some Hi-Yield Weed Preventer containing Dimension to prevent weed seeds from germinating for up to 4 months. And yes, many weeds do germinate in the late fall and last winter so it’s best to sprinkle it on now & again in early Spring.