Fall Mulch Pros and Cons: Is It a Holy Grail or an Epic Fail?Published: 01/12/2022 | Updated: 29/03/2023
A garden that says “welcome home” is worth all your love, patience, and care.
Whenever you nurture your garden, you are nurturing your soul. Just like your own baby, watching your garden grow day after day is your way of believing in the future.
Your garden is this happy place where you can escape the never-ending chaos of this world, learn all about patience, unleash your inner creativity, appreciate the beauty of design, and attend to the constant needs of your colorful living creations.
At this point, this strong bond you have with nature can never be severed. Looking after your garden has no limits, you never hesitate to go the extra mile or spend more time caring for your plants.
However, what happens when you feel like you have no clue what to do next? Though digging in the soil and planting beautiful blooms are your ways of celebrating life, you might be facing some serious challenges along the way.
While fall casts a golden spell upon your garden, it calls for tons of gardening tasks to suitably prepare your outdoor space for spring. One of these tasks is mulching your garden. It is a well-known fact that mulching brings enormous benefits to your garden, but how could you decide whether mulching in fall is the answer?
When in doubt, seek guidance from the professionals who can inform you of what exactly to do to give your garden the love and tender care it needs to thrive:
Reasons Why You Should Mulch Your Garden in the Fall
Stay Ahead of the Game
As the saying goes “a stitch in time saves nine”! Prepping your garden for a lively, full-of-blooms spring demands spending hours of work.
Smooth the way for your dream yard by covering your garden with organic mulch materials to protect the roots, feed the soil, and beautify your flower beds.
Keep Weeds at Bay With Grass Clippings
Growing in the wrong place at the wrong time, weeds creep into your garden in the fall. Once it invades your garden, it starves your plants, turns into deadly parasites that suck the nutrients out of your favorite plants, leaves no room for other plants to grow, and wreaks havoc upon your entire outdoor space if left unchecked.
To minimize the harmful effects of weeds, fall mulching comes in handy. Instead of allowing them to grow all over your space, use organic material and grass clippings to suppress weed growth and improve soil structure.
Shield Your Most-cherished Perennials
Year after year, your perennial plants grow back into the most captivating blooms. The least you can do to preserve this yearly picturesque scene is to protect these lush, blooming flowers in every way possible.
Luckily, one of the greatest ways to protect your perennials is by laying mulch in the fall. With the support of organic mulches that are made of pine needles and leaf compost, perennial plants can be ideally nourished throughout the stressful, chilly days of winter.
Put an End to Soil Erosion
When hit by winter’s wind, rain, and snow; the soil surface wears away, decreasing its fertility and removing the topsoil that is necessary to maintain life in your garden.
To control soil erosion during fall, spread straw mulch, wood chips, or pine bark to build an effective barrier around your flowers, vegetable gardens, trees, or shrubs.
From Trash To Treasure
During the fall season, leaves dance their way down to the ground, coating your entire garden with a golden-orange layer. This is nature’s way of gifting you an organic treat to nourish your garden and give it the love it deserves to stay at its brilliant best.
Although leave-based mulch is a fail-proof way to protect your garden beds, some throw this nature-sent gift away!
Should you change your mind about throwing those precious leaves away, you can use your lawn mower to spread mulch in the form of a thick layer of dry leaves all over your garden for added nutrients.
Control Excessive Temperature Fluctuations
Autumn kicks in while accompanied by not-so-decent weather swings that keep us confused for quite some time until the weather makes up its mind on a certain temperature.
Similar to our mood swings, you never know what comes next. Is it a warm day, a chilly night, or even a big freeze? Autumn can be seriously indecisive in this matter.
Unfortunately, this inflicts harm upon your garden. On the flip side, mulching in fall prepares your plants to be stronger by insulating their roots and protecting them from any temperature swings.
Feed Your Soil With Nutrients
For a garden that is as pretty as a picture in spring, enrich your garden’s soil with the necessary nutrients to help your plants thrive and grow big.
Once the organic mulch breaks down and gets absorbed by the soil, minerals and nitrogen give the plants the strength they need to survive cool temperatures.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Mulch Your Garden in the Fall
Properly mulching your garden calls for long hours of daylight so you can decide on where to spread your shredded leaves or other living mulch materials.
During fall and winter, you will be challenged by shorter days and met by longer nights. On the other hand, spring offers you stable weather conditions with longer days to mulch your garden.
What’s more, if you choose to mulch your garden in the fall, you might face the daunting challenge of early snow. As a result, mulch piles will be covered in snow.
A Mouthwatering Meal for Bugs
Although organic mulch keeps weeds at bay, enhances water retention, and controls soil temperature; it can also attract harmful pests to your home, exposing your plants to grave danger.
Centipedes, ants, earwigs, sowbugs, spiders, cockroaches, and millipedes are some of the bugs that are drawn to the organic mulch.
Additional Work for You
If a spring retreat (filled with your favorite, colorful blooms) sounds good to you, then you might need to consider putting in the extra work and sparing no effort in creating a captivating summer garden.
When spreading the mulch, make sure you add a rather thick layer to the soil to ensure that the organic mulch does not rot quickly and your plants are adequately protected.
Besides, fall mulching is a yearly tradition, an effort that you will have to pull every year at the same time to create your tapestry of colors and textures.
Add to this list of precautions the dangers of spreading too much mulch! Believe it or not, over-mulching limits roots' access to soil oxygen, gradually suffocates them, and eventually causes them to weaken and die.
Self-sowing Plants at Risk
Cost-effective and time-saving, self-sowing plants naturally reappear each year to accent your abode’s unique features and dress your yard up with ornately-growing flowers.
What is the issue in this case? Mulching interferes with the self-seeding process, preventing seed germination and plant growth.
Long Story Short
Growing an enveloped-in-nature retreat (welcoming enough to gather up your family and friends) calls for an all-year-round strategy. Bonus: planning your garden tasks is a great way to gracefully embrace the challenges that will be thrown at your face along the way.
With all the bases covered, you will be ready enough to care for your garden, offer it the maintenance it deserves, and become aware of every garden chore you need to carry out throughout the entire year.
It’s no secret that fashioning your dream yard is no piece of cake. So, whether you opt for mulching your yard in fall or in spring, the most important thing is to make sure that you are doing the best you could to maintain a healthy, lively garden.
Finally, if you feel overwhelmed by all the fall mulching instructions and details mentioned above, feel free to reach out to our professional team to guide you in the best way possible!