Perennial Care – Mulching

If you are planting a bed of perennials in your yard, you should mulch it immediately upon planting. While mulch can be organic or inorganic, try to use an organic mulch. This type of mulch is best for perennials because it breaks down over time to enrich the surrounding soil.

How To Mulch Perennials

After planting, you should only apply two inches of organic mulch to the perennial bed. Any more and the soil will retain too much moisture and less than that will not offer the protection and support usually provided by mulch. As you notice the mulch compacting and decomposing, you can apply additional mulch but make sure the depth does not exceed two inches.

With a vacuum leaf mulcher you can easily gather your own organic waste and turn it into fine mulch yourself.

When you put the mulch in the perennial bed, you do not want to crowd the plants with the organic matter. Instead, leave a space of a few inches around the crown of each plant so that they do not get smothered by the mulch.

Best Time of Year To Mulch Perennials

As with many other garden chores, the best time of year to mulch your perennial bed is in the late spring. This should be right the when soil begins to warm. Applying the mulch at this time prevents weeds from growing in the bed. Of course, if you are planting or moving your perennials in the fall, you can apply mulch later in the year. After the soil hits freezing temperatures, it is best to add three to four inches of mulch in an attempt to avoid frost heaving.

Benefits of Mulching Perennials

As with any other plant, mulching your perennial bed helps to reduce weeding and retain moisture. As the organic matter decomposes and breaks down, it adds nutrients to the soil, which is great for the health of the perennials. And if you keep the layer of mulch throughout the year, it keeps the temperature of the soil steady, which maintains the health of the plants.

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