by Leslie Cox; Monday; October 25, 2021

newly planted espalier apple tree

If you have incorporated new plants in your landscape this last summer it is a good idea to cover them with mulch for protection against freezing temperatures.

The best mulch material is leaves. They are on the ground anyways, so it is easy to either rake them up and spread them over the garden beds, or run over them with the lawn mower and spread the leaf mulch over the plants.

If you do not have any deciduous trees on your property, ask or beg your friends, neighbours, family members if you can steal some of theirs.

If you do not have any access to leaves, bark is a good substitute. We prefer the fine bark mulch which is available from our local pole yard but you can also by bagged bark from your local nursery or big box store.

Straw is another good mulch option but most people prefer to use this material on their vegetable gardens rather than on their front yard garden beds. It sometimes cones down to aesthetics…and the rules in some development communities. Just be sure to buy straw and not old hay. Hay, even the old stuff, will still have viable seeds in it which you will wind up cursing next spring.

Whatever you use, spread your mulch material 4 – 6 inches (10 – 15 cm) thick over your plants. This will provide adequate protection against freezing temperatures.

One final tip…or warning…

Do not spread the mulch right up against the trunks of your trees, especially young trees, Best to leave a 6 inch (15 cm) gap around the base of the tree. Otherwise, you will be creating good camouflage for mice, squirrels and other chewing demons who like to chew on fresh tree bark.