Want to Protect Your Perennial Flower Bed? Mulch Might be the Answer!

By: albertaarb - January 5, 2015

If you are wondering how you can protect your perennials from frost this winter, or how to handle tree care in Edmonton, the quick answer is mulch. Of course there is more to it than that, but mulch is one of the best ways to keep the ground around your plants insulated so that roots aren't damaged by frost.

How Does Mulch Protect My Plants?

Spreading a thick layer of mulch around your trees, plants and shrubs (think 4 to 5 inches) can greatly reduce the chances of root and plant damage due to winter frost.

In addition, mulch has other benefits. When it breaks down it returns nutrients to the soil. This happens over the winter and into the spring months, delivering important nutrients to the roots to help your plants stay healthy all summer long.

Some types of mulch, such as cedar, also help keep insects at bay. Cedar does not break down as easily as some other mulch, so take that into consideration. Here is a quick list of they types of mulch that are available:

  • Pine straw
  • Wood chips
  • Sawdust
  • Bark
  • Black plastic mulch
  • Straw and hay
  • Partially composted leaves

Each type of mulch has its own benefits and drawbacks. Your soil type, climate and landscaping needs will help you determine which one you choose.

How Much Mulch Do I Use?

It is important that you mulch correctly, or you could end up causing problems for your plants. For example, it is a good idea to wait until there have been a couple of frosts before you lay down the mulch. Laying down mulch too soon can encourage rodents to make homes in it, which can lead to all sorts of problems including root damage.

It is also important to remember that winter mulching is different from mulching to prevent weeds. During the winter you will be laying down four or five inches, but during the summer months only two.

Prior to mulching, you must remove weeds, diseased and dead branches and foliage. Dig up any bulbs that are not winter hardy. Spread the mulch evenly, leaving a bit of breathing room around the trunks of trees and shrubs.

You will be removing the mulch as spring arrives and the weather warms up to prevent suffocation.

The correct use of mulch can help your plants, shrubs and trees withstand the freezing temperatures of winter and come back even stronger and healthier in the spring. If you have any questions about tree care in Edmonton, then contact your local arborist for a consultation.

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