In this video, professional horticulturist Mitch Baker shows how to mulch the winter garden.
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I am Mitch Baker with American Plant in Bethesda. We’re talking about winterizing your garden. Right now mulching is the topic.
Windy and mulch, what are you going to use to mulch and how much to apply. Those are the questions that are frequently asked. Now, we’re still dealing with these leaves that are coming down so does it really make sense to mulch at this time?
No, best to wait until all of these leaves have fallen. You’ve done your clean up then go ahead and apply your mulch. At that time, the soil temperatures have had an opportunity to drop. Applying mulch too early just keeps soil temperatures elevated too long into the fall. So, we want those soil temperatures to drop at a normal rate based on air temperature.
So, waiting until all the leaves have dropped then apply your mulch. And what we’re going to use today is shredded hard wood but it really doesn’t matter whether you used shredded hard wood, pine bark chips, pine bark nuggets, pine needles, coco shell, cedar mulch, cypress mulch. That’s a personal choice whatever you like to look up.
The problems come from over application of any of those mulches so what we want to do is keep the mulch limited to an inch and an inch and a half tops. That’s all it’s necessary to get all the benefits of mulch without causing any problems. The benefits of mulch, it retains moisture in the soil. It moderates temperature and it helps suppress weed growth.
More mulch doesn’t necessarily increase those benefits. In fact, it can start to create some problems. Creating that thick layer of mulch, I’m sure you’ve seen around trees this cone of mulch, that’s the cone of death. That’s way too much mulch. We want to feather that out to just to an inch. That’s much mulch powder on the base of the tree, that’s just creates a barrier to moisture penetration, not a good thing.
Now, we’ll spread this out lightly. That’s the idea to have this thinly spread no more than an inch deep so that this mulch then decomposes within a one-year period so that it replaces annually, not twice a year, not three times a year. We want to keep this mulch thin so that it breaks down. It does its job within a season, within a year so that we have to replace it then.
So, keep the mulch thin. You’ll get all the benefit without creating any other problems. That’s a bit about mulching and next we’ll talk about watering for the winter.