The onset of cold temperatures means it's time to prepare your garden for winter. To maintain the health of your plants throughout the winter season, you must protect them, hence the importance of adding mulch to the plants.

Why mulch plants in the fall

Mulch acts as an insulating blanket for the soil and plant roots. In the fall and spring, temperatures vary greatly from day to day. A good layer of mulch maintains a more consistent temperature in the soil and retains moisture in preparation for winter. It protects more fragile or recently planted plants.

What type of mulch to use

Not all mulches have the same properties. Some decompose quickly to nourish the soil while others do not. Here are some interesting mulches for fall.

Cedar mulch:

Surely one of the most popular, it is made of natural or dyed cedar and is used everywhere in landscaping, especially at the base of trees, shrubs and hedges.

Rameal Fragmented Wood (RFW):

This is a mulch of shredded hardwood branches with their leaves. It decomposes slowly and provides a rich humus which is very useful for improving soil structure.

Organic mulch:

  • Crushed dead leaves and hedge trimmings make excellent mulch and are available in abundance in the fall. Do not hesitate and add 15 cm of thickness without any problem around fruit trees, small fruit shrubs as well as perennials.
  • Grass mowing is an excellent plant-based option, inexpensive and easily available. Since it decomposes quickly, extend 5 cm and renew as needed.
  • Straw is an organic mulch that retains moisture well and helps insulate the soil. However, it will decompose quickly in the spring. Used mainly for vegetables beds. Apply between 7 and 10 cm.

When to add mulch

Ideally, the mulch is spread when the frost begins.

How to apply mulch

  1. Remove dead leaves, debris and weeds. In the vegetable garden, remove all dead plants such as tomatoes, chili peppers or others. Compost them.
  2. Loosen the soil
  3. Moisten the soil so that the plants store enough water before winter arrives.
  4. If necessary, add a balanced fertilizer or compost to provide additional nutrients to the plants.
  5. Apply the mulch in a layer, keeping 5 cm around the base of the plants
  • Perennials: 5 to 10 cm thick.
  • Trees and shrubs: 7 to 10 cm

Which perennials, shrubs, berries and trees benefit from mulching

All plants that are grown at the edge of their hardiness zone will benefit from good mulching

  • Perennials: Hostas, peonies, asters, and irises benefit from mulch to protect their roots in winter.
  • Shrubs: Evergreen shrubs, rhododendrons, hydrangeas and rose bushes also appreciate mulch to prevent winter frost and keep the soil moist.
  • Small fruits: Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries can be mulched to avoid temperature fluctuations.
  • Trees: Young fruit trees and shrubs, as well as newly planted trees, benefit from a layer of mulch around their base to help them establish strong roots.