It’s time to think about winter mulching in Wisconsin. The temperatures are cooling, and garden season is wrapping up. Soon the below-zero weather will be here, and our perennial plants will need a little help to stay warm and survive. This is especially important if the temperatures are cold, but the insulating snow cover hasn’t yet arrived.
An article from WisContext* explains why winter mulch is important for protecting plants, shrubs and trees. The article says:
- When the temperature dips well below freezing, many landscape plants need an extra layer of protection, especially if there's no snow cover. Mulching provides one of the best blanket covers to protect strawberries, certain perennials and various other plants from cold conditions.
- Winter mulch is used to prevent soil from alternating between freezing and thawing conditions, contrary to a common belief that it protects the ground from freezing and offers warmth to plants. Repeated freezing and thawing occurs when there is insufficient or a complete absence of snow cover during periods of low temperatures. These changes force stems, roots, bulbs/tubers to heave out of the ground, and can severely damage or kill plants.
The article explains that the depth of mulch should be different in the winter and in the summer growing season—something that makes a difference in plant health and shouldn't be overlooked.
- Wood chip mulch should be applied to the root zone areas of trees and shrubs that are marginally winter hardy or planted within the last five years, to a depth of at least 6 inches. Chicken wire should be installed prior to mulching around tree bark for protection from rodents. In mid-late spring, the mulch can be reduced to 2-3 inches deep, and the should be kept around 6 inches away from the tree trunk. If there are any cracks near the root zone area, they should be filled in with soil.
*WisContext is a service of Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and Cooperative Extension.
Hay Creek Companies is a mulch supplier in Wisconsin. Hay Creek manufactures landscape wood chip mulch from 100% virgin hardwood. This is mulch that is free of harmful chemicals. The dyed mulch is colored with an environmentally safe colorant that also won’t harm your soil or other plants. Our mulch is available in bulk or bagged from any of our dealers. To become a distributor of bagged or bulk mulch in your area, please contact us.