When to Mulch

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated January 7, 2019)

Mulch can be one of two things for a gardener and landscaper. It can either be one of the greatest helps, or it can be one of the biggest detriments. The reason for this lies largely in the question of when to mulch. If you mulch your particular plant at the wrong time, in the wrong way, or even with the wrong material you can cause great harm to the plants that you are actually trying to help. Conversely, if you mulch within the proper time frame, and use the correct materials, and use those materials properly then you will be simply amazed at how well your plants do.

Typically there are only four or five instances when a person will use mulch. Those instances are for flowers, vegetables, shrubs, trees, and for pure decoration. Each of these instances is listed below, as well as a brief description of when to mulch and how much material you should use.

  • Flowers. In almost all cases when you mulch flower beds you will need to wait until the soil has completely warmed up, which is usually in the early spring. The reason for this is rather simple since mulch acts as an insulator it can help keep the soil either cool or warm. Cold temperatures are usually bad for flowers, so you need to wait until the ground is warm. When mulching flowers, you should use no more than a maximum of four inches of mulching material.
  • Vegetables. When mulching vegetables, you will generally follow the same rules that you do with flowers. Apply the mulch when the soil has begun to warm up for the season, and never use more than four inches of material.
  • Shrubs and Trees. Mulching shrubs is for the most part the same as mulching vegetables or flowers, with one slight difference. If you are going to be using mulch to help protect your shrubs over the winter months, then you need to apply it at the first sign of frost. Unlike with the mulch you use for flowers and vegetables, you will need to apply a looser type of material than you would use during the warmer months. Some examples that are perfect are things like straw, hay, and even pine boughs.
  • Decoration. Mulching can also be used as a form of decoration and a method for preventing weeds from forming. In situations like this, you can simply apply the mulch when you are ready to begin your landscaping efforts. On the average though the best time to apply mulch for this purpose is in the early spring, when you want to spruce up the look of your yard.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


Cleaning Stained Hearths

Whenever the weather begins to get a little colder, or you are looking for a romantic evening, thoughts naturally begin ...

Discover More

Restoring Yellowed Cultured Marble

Cultured marble can provide a wonderful touch of elegance to any room, and greatly enhance the charm of any home. ...

Discover More

Removing Burnt Chili

Have you ever noticed how difficult it can be to get rid of burnt chili? For some reason removing burnt chili is a fairly ...

Discover More
More Gardening Tips

Choosing the Right Mulch

Although there are differing opinions as to whether natural mulch is better for plants than synthetic, most gardeners ...

Discover More

Garden Compost

Garden compost can be one of the greatest additions to anyone's garden. Whether you are interested in organic gardening ...

Discover More

Mulching Trees

One of the most beneficial tasks a person can do for the health of a tree is to mulch it properly. Not only can mulch ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine more than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)