confused about mulching

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confused about mulching

Post by janice christi » Sat, 31 Oct 1998 04:00:00



i am confused as to when to add winter mulch , asthe weather starts to
turn cooler or after the first hard freeze. i have heard it both ways or
does it depend on the plant. i live in va. zone 7, thanks

janice
 If I could put my words in song and tell what's there enjoyed, all men
would to my Garden thong, and leave the cities void.

 
 
 

confused about mulching

Post by Paul Onsta » Sun, 01 Nov 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> i am confused as to when to add winter mulch , asthe weather starts to
> turn cooler or after the first hard freeze. i have heard it both ways or
> does it depend on the plant. i live in va. zone 7, thanks

For a starter, here's a non-expert opinion but one which works for me... I
let a little natural mulching take place before a hard freeze. That is, the
flower beds receive their share of the fallen leaves being blown about and I
don't tend to remove them. These are light covers at best since the beds are
not directly beneath any trees.

After a hard freeze I add more loose leaves (I have set aside) till there is
adequate cover all over. This has especially helped tulip beds close to the
house which tended to come up too early in the spring. After a hard freeze I
also "bury" a sensitive rose bush (inside wide mesh) with a mixture (very
dry) of leaves and compost.

  -Paul

 
 
 

confused about mulching

Post by Renee Jone » Sun, 01 Nov 1998 04:00:00


What is the puspose of waiting until after a freeze to mulch?
 
 
 

confused about mulching

Post by Al Sun » Sun, 01 Nov 1998 04:00:00


Maybe what is being referred to is mulching for winter protection.  Usually
after a hard freeze, your perennials will be dead from the ground up.  You
can safely pile hay, straw, leaves, or any other mulch on top without
smothering the green growing leaves.  You can also do this with some small
shrubs to preserve soil moisture and prevent windburn.  The idea is that
you don't won't to cover up plants that are actively growing, so it really
depends on the plant.

-al sung
Hopkinton,MA (Zone 6a)

Quote:

>>i am confused as to when to add winter mulch , asthe weather starts to
>>turn cooler or after the first hard freeze. i have heard it both ways or
>>does it depend on the plant. i live in va. zone 7.

>I also live in Zone 7 (Wilmington, DE). I mulch in the fall. I don't like
to
>leave exposed earth, and the mulch keeps the soil moist. This is especially
>important for azaleas and other broadleaf evergreens that can lose moisture
in
>the winter.

>When the soil freezes (usually in late December or  January) the mulch
prevents
>frost heaving. But I don't see the harm in putting it on earler, while I
think
>it does good. Just my experience/ opinion.

>Wendy Goldberg

 
 
 

confused about mulching

Post by Wendy B » Mon, 02 Nov 1998 04:00:00


Quote:
>i am confused as to when to add winter mulch , asthe weather starts to
>turn cooler or after the first hard freeze. i have heard it both ways or
>does it depend on the plant. i live in va. zone 7.

I also live in Zone 7 (Wilmington, DE). I mulch in the fall. I don't like to
leave exposed earth, and the mulch keeps the soil moist. This is especially
important for azaleas and other broadleaf evergreens that can lose moisture in
the winter.

When the soil freezes (usually in late December or  January) the mulch prevents
frost heaving. But I don't see the harm in putting it on earler, while I think
it does good. Just my experience/ opinion.

Wendy Goldberg

 
 
 

confused about mulching

Post by Paul Onsta » Mon, 02 Nov 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> What is the puspose of waiting until after a freeze to mulch?

(I'll take that as a "hard" freeze. In other words the average
temperatures have dropped to the point where the ground is frozen
and is likely to remain that way.)

Perennials usually have a certain amount of "anti-freeze" in
their systems. A simple frost/freeze will not stop them from
growing. For instance, although my coneflowers and bee balm have
died off (the *** plants), all sorts of new, young growth is
getting a head start on next season. If I mulched deeply, they
would get no sun and might even be flattened. Right now, they're
nestled in amongst a few loose leaves (deposited naturally) and
have extra frost protection.

Later on, when hard freeze conditions are here, I'll add more
mulch--to a depth of (?) four or so inches (it's not critical). I
use leaves but straw, hay, etc. would also work. As another
poster mentioned, this prevents frost heaving, which is very
important for some plants like hollyhocks. For bulbs, it also
prevents them from coming up on any exceptionally warm days in
(e.g.) February (like has happened here in Minnesota).

Deeper mulch should be carefully removed in the spring as growing
conditions return. I do this little by little.

  -Paul

 
 
 

confused about mulching

Post by Dana Parke » Mon, 02 Nov 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> What is the puspose of waiting until after a freeze to mulch?

  I don't know about mulching immediately after a hard freeze - around
here (Zone 5, Denver) we'll usually get the first hard freeze in
September or October, but I don't apply heavy winter mulch (shredded
leaves, followed by Christmas tree branches) until December. The idea is
to prevent thaw/freeze cycles once the ground has frozen, which are a
real problem here. We'll get below-zero temps in November and December,
then a week of 60-degree days in January. Repeated freezing and thawing
can "heave" plants out of the ground and make bulbs break dormancy
early. Mulching is especially important because we don't get extended
snow cover - snow is good protection from fluctating temperatures and
from drying winter winds.
 
 
 

confused about mulching

Post by Renee Jone » Mon, 02 Nov 1998 04:00:00


 As another

Quote:
> poster mentioned, this prevents frost heaving, which is very
> important for some plants like hollyhocks.  

Thanks for the explanation.  Here in Dallas we only experience what
y'all in Denver & Minnesota might call "light" freezes, & we have to
mulch before the temperature dropes to freezing.
 
 
 

confused about mulching

Post by Renee Jone » Wed, 04 Nov 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> I read that you should put mulch on only after the ground
> is frozen or heaving would occur.  I read so many differing things
> that who know what to do!!!


> >What is the puspose of waiting until after a freeze to mulch?

I guess it depends on what kind of winters you have.  Here in Dallas, we
only have a few days of freezing temperatures.  We mulch before a freeze
because for us the cold temperature is the danger.

 What I didn't know until after I made my original post was that in
really cold climates the danger comes from the repeated freezing and
thawing of the ground throughout the winter.  In that situation, once
the ground freezes, you want it to remain frozen so you mulch after the
freeze.

 
 
 

confused about mulching

Post by bree.. » Thu, 05 Nov 1998 04:00:00


I read that you should put mulch on only after the ground
is frozen or heaving would occur.  I read so many differing things
that who know what to do!!!
Quote:

>What is the puspose of waiting until after a freeze to mulch?

 
 
 

confused about mulching

Post by JS » Mon, 09 Nov 1998 04:00:00


This is exactly what I have been told for zone 6b in southern Ontario.
We mulch once the ground is frozen in order to keep it cold in winter.
Supposedly, it's the freeze-thaw cycle that is damaging. In fact, I
have also been told that some perennials do better further north where
they have longer, colder winters. They don't have the continual
freeze-thaw problem, and they have permanent snow cover as
reinforcement.

John

Quote:

>> What is the puspose of waiting until after a freeze to mulch?

>leaves, followed by Christmas tree branches) until December. The idea is
>to prevent thaw/freeze cycles once the ground has frozen, which are a