To address our first question, that “is it better to mulch in spring or fall”? we need to understand a few things about mulch.
Mulch does help your soil in any way. “Any way” meanings it can make your soil fertile or can protect your soil giving it the true aesthetic look you want. Either way mulch is always better for your soil.
When the spring comes, it is a great idea to mulch your soil as it is the right time to mulch in spring. Spring means a warmth is coming to your soil that’s where you can put mulch after giving some warmth to your soil.
That time period will be late winter to early spring
Moreover, it’s also a great idea to mulch in spring because most of time you will be wanting to make your soil good looking by removing leaves, shrubs, weeds, or grass from your soil.
Should You Mulch in the Fall? Reasons Given Below
When it comes to “Should i mulch in the fall”, you should mulch in fall as it brings many benefits like prevention from soil erosion, supressing weeds growth, preventing soil moisture loss, discouraging temperature shifts and many more.
In short, we can say mulching in spring or fall is good idea. Following are the reasons to get a clear idea that Why Mulch in Fall? What it brings you?
1. Prevents Soil Erosion
Soil erosion occurs from the wind, winter moisture, rains and water flows. When you mulch your soil, it acts as layer between the eroding things and soil. It prevents your soil like a shield all bad things like moisture, heavy rain or wind force.
2. Suppress Weeds Growth
When you put down mulch in spring, it acts as shield to prevent sunlight to reach the weed seedlings residing already in the soil. When the sunlight doesn’t reach the weed seedlings, it suffocates them and results in eventual death. There a many best mulches to prevent weed growth in this regard you can try with the right technique to prevent weeds growth.
3. Protects Plants From Moisture Loss
A good layer of mulch prevents the soil moisture. It doesn’t let sun take away all moisture during the summer coming right after the winter. Because it is a layer which sun light cannot penetrate so it will always be a good option to prevent soil moisture that plant can use for their health root growth and the shoot system itself.
4. Prevents Shifts in Temperature of Soil
Many plants have their roots in the topsoil that could be in your garden, flow beds, or any other shrubs. These roots a liable to damage by high or low temperature of environment if they are not protected.
High temperature comes in summer and low temperature comes in winter which means there is a cycle of heating and coldness. That thawing and getting cold cycle can kills the roots of your plants in the soil.
Laying a mulch layer over topsoil in winter ensures the protection of those roots of plants from the temperature fluctuation and keep your lawn or garden the way you want it all season-protected and lush green.
5. Beneficial Microorganisms Stays in Your Soil for Long
As mentioned above mulch secures optimum soil moisture and temperature to the soil.
The side benefits that also comes with that is the beneficial microorganisms in the soil like beneficial bacteria that are required for nitrogen fixation cycle. In simple words best for the soil fertility and plant roots growth.
So doing mulching in winter or fall is a good idea to keep these beneficial microorganisms alive.
6. Help Perennials Plants
When you put down mulch like pine straw or leaf mulch in winter or fall, you are actually giving your perennials plants a tremendous opportunity to protect its roots from environmental effects and side by side gets the organic benefits of mulch. Organic benefits mean it is the nutrients the comes from the breakdown of organic mulch after a fixed time period.
7. Bring Organic Benefits (If You Mulch Fallen Leaves)
Mulching fallen leaves in the spring is also a good idea. Leaves when mulched using the right leaves mulching method brings tremendous leaves organic mulch benefits. All you have to do is to prepare the mulch of leaves and spread it over your soil and let the green light of healthy plants gets your eyes.
8. Save Your Time
Once you prevent your soil in spring or fall, it really protects your soil and keep it intact. Which means in the next fall or season you don’t need to do the hard work of spread soil, uprooting weeds, getting damaged plants out, watering your soil etc.
Tip Regarding the Importance of Mulch in Spring or Fall
Here a quick tip regarding the importance of mulch in spring or fall, I would like to mention is:
Always Make a Good Layer of Mulch
It means your mulch has to be of optimum thickness when you lay it down on the soil. The soil could be your yard, lawn, garden, bed or anything. The idea behind the optimum mulch thickness is to lay your mulch in a way that it let your soil breath and secure its own moisture level.
Which means with a good thickness of layer of mulch, your soil will be breathing well, letting plant seedlings grow through it if any, suppressing weeds growth, or preventing soil erosion. So, the optimum thickness of 3 inch is good for your soil to retain its quality we want in spring.
Do Apply Mulch That Traps Air
Trapping air means your mulch will trap the air and keep your soil warmth in cold winter. Its just like insulation concept on a river when ice traps warmth to the sea life.
Always Choose the Right Mulch
Choosing mulch to bring the mulch benefits as mentioned above in the reasons plus giving your soil a good look should always be your goal. Mulches like bark mulch, pine straw mulch, or shredded leaves you can choose depending upon your location.
Be Prepared for the Wind or Slopy Lands
If your mulch is exposed to wind force, you need to use some chicken’s wires or soil cover to prevent it from eroding away with wind. If your land is sloppy, you can choose the plastic mulch like black plastic fabric.
When it comes to when is the best time to mulch in the fall or when to spread mulch in spring. You should mulch 3 inch layer in the mid to late of spring or fall as it benefits your soil. The benefits it gives to your soil are prevents soil erosion, suppress weeds growth, protects plants from moisture loss, prevents shifts in temperature of soil, beneficial microorganisms stays in your soil for long, help perennials plants, bring organic benefits (if you mulch fallen leaves) and save your time.