The colder days are coming, and that means it's time for winter care in your yard. Not only are your plants battling the cold, but they are also fighting against the dry weather. The best tool to have in your arsenal? Mulch!
Mulch is a wonderful tool that can be used to protect your plants, improve your soil, keep weeds down, and conserve water. "Generally speaking, mulches reduce the amount of moisture that evaporates from the soil, which conserves water. Mulching a planting bed can reduce the need to water by 50%. Mulches also stabilize soil temperature. This can be beneficial for shallow-rooted plants that are susceptible to freeze damage during the winter" (CSU). There are a few different ways you can mulch your yard and some that are easily obtainable! Grass clippings are organic and can perfectly mulch a vegetable bed! If you still have leaves around, mulching them over your lawn will help it come back strong in the springtime. These leaves are also great to use in compost or to add a little more carbon to your soil in the summer when carbon material is more difficult to come by.
"Your trees will also benefit from mulching around the trunk. Trees that have mulch around their trunks grow larger and healthier than trees that have turf growing all the way to their base. The mulch “donut” should be two to three feet wide. Leave two to four inches of bare ground near the base of the trunk, if it is touching the trunk it increases the chance of your tree suffering from girdling roots" (CSU).
Be sure to keep in mind watering! We are experiencing a drought at the moment and it is crucial to keep your plants from drying out.
Here are some winter watering tips!
- Water only when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees F with no snow cover.
- Apply water at mid-day so it will have time to soak in before possible freezing at night. Trees obtain water best when it is allowed to soak into the soil slowly to a depth of 12 inches.
- Established large trees have a root spread equal to or greater than the height of the tree. Apply water to the most critical part of the root zone within the dripline.
Sources: CSU Extension