Denver Landscape Supplies and Materials/Hauling/Excavating

ARS LANSCAPE MATERIALS & SUPPLY

Winter Mulching in Cold Climate Gardens

In areas that experience freezing temperatures, winter mulching differs from mulching during the growing season. We mulch our gardens in the spring to suppress weeds, retain moisture and feed and warm the soil. While we may spread a layer of soil conditioning compost or manure in the fall, the primary reason for winter mulching is to protect our plants from the harsh conditions of winter freezes, thaws and winds.

Why Mulch the Garden in Winter?

The main idea behind winter mulching is to keep the ground frozen by shielding it from the warmth of the sun. A steady temperature will keep the plant in dormancy and prevent it from triggering new growth during a brief warm spell. Tender, new growth too soon will just result in more winter die back. Mulching now will also help conserve whatever water is in the soil, so hopefully you’ve been keeping your garden beds watered right up until the hard frost.

What Can You Use to Mulch the Garden in Winter?

Any loose, insulating material will do. Keep in mind that you’ll need to remove the mulch in the spring, or at least rake it aside. So choose a material that’s easy to handle. Shredded mulch, straw, pine needles or shredded leaves are all easy to remove or easy to work into the soil.

If your ground doesn’t freeze until after Christmas, you can use the cut boughs of your Christmas tree as a mulch covering. These are nice because they’re so easy to remove in the spring.

The easiest mulch is snow cover. Snow is a great insulator and protector of plants.

Some plants will simply collapse onto themselves and act as self-mulches. Chrysanthemums survive best if allowed to do this.

 

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