Mulching in fall, good or bad

carla17(Z7 NC)October 9, 2008

I'm thinking of putting mulch down now. This is for several reasons, one being I just re-did a large part of a bed and it needs mulch. The other being I cleaned that bed very good and it's always the trouble bed with spring weeds. Appreciate all comments.

Thank you,


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Hi, I think mulch is a great idea anytime. It will help protect the roots from cold over the winter and hold moisture and it will be there in the spring to help stop weed growth.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 4:45PM
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rosesnpots(z8 Tidewater area VA)


I mulch every fall, I first put down a layer of compost and then mulch on top of it. You may even want to before you lay the mulch down, spread out a layer (1 or 2 pages thick) of newpaper. I did that last year and the weeds very so minimal all season I am doing it again this year.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 6:26PM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Generator, I'm thinking about trying to get a jump start on suppressing weeds like you mentioned.
Liz, thanks. I'm probably going to put cardboard or papers down first.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 7:56PM
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roseman(Z 8A GA)

Yes, a good idea since it will help provide some winter protection for your roses.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 12:10PM
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Carla I hope this is not a a hijack. We have a large area that is woodsy on the side of our house. We don't mulch it, it is quite treed and shady but lots of enormous weeds grow there. We are going to try Preen this Fall. Would anything else keep the weeds down?

Sorry Carla if I imposed!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 2:54PM
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I think the only reason not to is that the mulch breaks down over the winter so if you waited until spring you'd have more mulch. But I think in your case that waiting would just mean more weeds so I'd go ahead and do it now.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 2:55PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

Another point of view:
Carla probably doesn't need to protect her roses from cold; she's on the Piedmont of North Carolina. And if she puts actively rotting mulch up against the canes of some roses (Hybrid Teas especially) any scratch on those canes may develop cankers in the warmer spells in winter (usually the latter weeks of January when temps are 70)

Weed suppression is another thing. Our mild winters make weeds very happy. Chickweed, henbane, and a bunch more will come up anywhere there is exposed soil. The seeds are there, just waiting. Newspaper over that surface with a cover of coarse mulch will suppress a lot of weeds. It will also keep the ground cooler and some OGRs are less likely to start growing too early if their roots are cool.

And one more negative: mulch too early and the mice make themselves a home in your rose beds and they eat through winter the food most convenient to them: rose stems and roots.

Summary: No easy answers.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 5:37PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

Carla, I put up mulch whenever, and lots of time in fall when I replant a bed, so I think it's fine. I also have used preen or other weed suppresent under mulch and it works great.

redsox, I have a similar spot in my yard. Orginally it was stripped bare when the houses were built. Since it's a steep hill, I decided to replant with native pines and other plants. The first couple of years, it was inundated with weed, crabgrass, briars, muscadine...but as the trees grew and put out more shade, it's gotten better. What you could do is put down a thick layer of pine straw and/or just leave the fallen leaves that fall there. Sometimes they can be so think, nothing can grow under them. Preen works by supressing seed germination, so if the weeds are growing from seed, that would help.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 8:55AM
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