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-   -   Mulch - where and when? (http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/mulch/12968-mulch-where-when.html)

linrose 12-01-2015 05:11 PM

Mulch - where and when?
 
Now that the leaves are piling up and we have chopped our first round and started to make piles to compost I was thinking about where and when to spread them in the gardens. The plus to spreading them now is to keep down the spring weeds before we get out there to start tackling them. The downside is keeping the soil cooler for longer and smothering seeds that might sprout from the nearby plants we want to self-sow.

Now I don't have a problem using them in the shrub borders where I don't have to worry about self sowing but the mixed borders are another matter. I don't use any mulch in the prairie bed for many reasons, first the leaves from the red oaks blow in there naturally, second I want some self-sown seed, and third it's too big to carefully tend to it so it is left to its own.

So mostly it is down to when to mulch the perennial/mixed beds. Should I leave the chopped leaves to compost down a bit until spring and then spread or put them on now? Usually in spring we'll spread some finished compost around the beds and then mulch but the weeds have already had a pretty strong head start so the task of weeding has to be done first. We still have some pretty nice weather ahead of us here so we still have time to do some outside work. As I look out the window right now the ground is completely carpeted with a thick layer of leaves, most of them from the big Southern red oaks in the front yard. I am happy that we don't hear the whine of leaf blowers this year at all. OK I'm digressing.

To mulch or not to mulch (right now!), that is the question!

havalotta 12-06-2015 09:32 AM

I mulch between the perennials AS I run into the finds be it from upon my property, a curb or elsewhere. Leaving them to compost till spring only makes it more compact and an even a heavier load to move. I'd do it now, so it smothers the weedings that you're normally tearing out before your Spring additions. There's enough to do come Spring. Doing it now eliminates moving it again AND the weeding!

I topped and leveled my beds off a few weeks past already....Saved some of the goods, for the re-potting of a few things already stored.

linrose 12-06-2015 12:53 PM

I agree spring is so busy so best to mulch now. I do have an area in a bed that I've been slowly turning into all shrubs where I've transplanted some shrubs this fall that are bare and need mulching. I'm going to have to place cardboard down first as the spacing is pretty large, ripe for weeds. I'm still trying to get rid of some South American salvia that has been aggressive and taken over. It was pretty and attracted hummingbirds but it really needed to go so the cardboard and mulch will help with that.

katjh 12-10-2015 05:07 PM

I mulch leaves as they fall in my front yard and then spread them wherever I think they are needed. This year, I had some new plantings that I wanted to protect a little so the plants wouldn't frost heave, so the leaves went over those areas. I also pile some near my compost bins so I can feed them in (browns) with the kitchen scraps (greens) over the winter.

linrose 12-10-2015 05:59 PM

Good idea about leaving some near the compost kat - I never think to add browns over the winter. Also mulching around new plants is a great idea. Can you believe it I didn't get any plants this year due to a busy schedule except a couple of Arbor Day black gums that I still need to plant.

havalotta 12-12-2015 05:36 PM

So being busy gave you a break ha. Sounds like me!
I ran for another couple of buckets of the rich soil I was talking about and spread some more of it over a bed. Would you believe we're still not frozen in here. I went on to take a walk in the woods to gather greenery, pine cones and twigs. This weather is soooooo nice. Going to make myself a big heaping vase full of the scent soothing laden goods.

linrose 12-27-2015 10:20 AM

Are you still unfrozen there hava or has the snow and ice hit you? It's 71 here right now but by Tuesday we'll be back down to 50 dropping down to around 40 by New Years. We did get to mulch on Christmas Eve day with cardboard and last year's composted leaves around the new Viburnums. That should save a lot of work come spring.

How nice to gather greens and twigs from the woods for winter decorations. My daughter and I made a grapevine wreath stuck with extra Fraser fir branches from the Christmas tree, red cedar twigs and holly sprigs with red berries from our one non-native Foster's holly. The cedar waxwings usually devour these when they come through.

linrose 12-27-2015 10:35 AM

FYI: Foster's holly is a cross between dahoon (Ilex cassine) and American holly (Ilex opaca) both American natives although dahoon is native a bit further south of us from Texas to North Carolina down to Florida so I suppose it is cross between two natives although it was bred in Alabama and is only propagated from cuttings now so it technically is not a native.

TMI?!!

dapjwy 12-27-2015 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by linrose (Post 154657)
FYI: Foster's holly is a cross between dahoon (Ilex cassine) and American holly (Ilex opaca) both American natives although dahoon is native a bit further south of us from Texas to North Carolina down to Florida so I suppose it is cross between two natives although it was bred in Alabama and is only propagated from cuttings now so it technically is not a native.

TMI?!!

TMI? No, not at all...I found it quite interesting.

havalotta 01-01-2016 05:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by linrose (Post 154655)
Are you still unfrozen there hava or has the snow and ice hit you? It's 71 here right now but by Tuesday we'll be back down to 50 dropping down to around 40 by New Years. We did get to mulch on Christmas Eve day with cardboard and last year's composted leaves around the new Viburnums. That should save a lot of work come spring.

How nice to gather greens and twigs from the woods for winter decorations. My daughter and I made a grapevine wreath stuck with extra Fraser fir branches from the Christmas tree, red cedar twigs and holly sprigs with red berries from our one non-native Foster's holly. The cedar waxwings usually devour these when they come through.

Think we may be all tucked in now for the Winter. We got hit with a snowstorm on Monday the 28th and it has stuck with us ever since. That was a very welcoming snowstorm though as we had held off in our celebrating with the immediate family till that very eve as we were visiting relatives over the Holidays Sooooooo We had ourselves a white Christmas with our family after all!


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