Should I Mulch Around My Trees in Spring, Fall, or Before Winter?

What Time of Year You Should Mulch

There are many benefits to mulching around the base of your trees. 

Mulch prevents weed growth, retains soil moisture, decrease soil erosion, and regulates soil temperature. Organic mulch has the added benefit of adding nutrients to the soil. All of these things can result in nearly doubled growth rate for your tree!

So, when should you mulch? Well, that depends on your specific goals and schedule. Below are some reasons for mulching during different times of the year:

Mulching in Spring

Spring has sprung, the sun is out, and it’s thrive season for your trees. It’s also thrive season for pesky weeds.

If your biggest goal is to prevent annual weeds from popping up and depriving your trees of necessary nutrients, you want to mulch in the spring. 

You want to get a barrier down before the sunlight can reach the weeds, but be patient! 

In the Northeast, you need to wait until about mid-spring so you don’t trap cold winter moisture in the ground, delaying tree root growth.  

In addition to weed prevention, spring mulching leaves you with a fresh, bright looking mulch – A stark contrast to the gray winter that just ended!

Mulching in the Fall

Think of fall mulch as a blanket to keep roots at an ideal temperature during harsh winters. If you have added a lot of new trees, you’ll want to protect them from the cold and give them a chance to survive. 

Rapid temperature changes and fluctuations during winter can actually force your tree roots right out of the ground. By adding a 2”-3” layer of mulch around your trees, you are helping to regulate the soil temperature and keep your root system steadfast.

You may also want to mulch in the fall if spring tends to be a busy time for you. This way, the mulch is already down. The color will, however, dull significantly. If this doesn’t bother you, then carry on!

Refreshing Mulch Before Winter

If you have a lot of evergreens, refreshing your mulch before winter can keep the soil moist and prevent the trees from drying out and turning brown. 

You’ll want to wait until late fall, after the first few hard frosts, to help moderate soil temperature all winter. Right around Thanksgiving is a good time.

Remember, you only need 2”-3” of mulch. If you still have an inch left from spring or fall mulching, you should only add another inch or so.

Trust the Maryland Tree Care Experts!

Still not sure when you should mulch your trees? Call Appalachian Tree Co. Inc.! For nearly 35 years, we have taken care of a variety of trees throughout central Maryland. Our experts are qualified to examine, diagnose, and care for your trees to keep them healthy and looking great for many years to come.

Give us a call to schedule a consultation!