Protect Your Plants This Winter with a Blanket of Mulch

Many of our residential and commercial clients people rely on mulch throughout the summer to protect their plants from the heat, seal in moisture and help keep the weeds at bay. But did you know that mulch can play a critical role for your plants during the winter months too?

Mulch protects your plant’s fragile roots throughout the winter

In the Midwest, we often experience a freeze/thaw cycle late in the winter and into the early spring. This cycle can cause plants with shallow root systems or those not well established yet to heave up out of the soil. This exposes the fragile roots and causes damage to the plant. It can even destroy the root system before it has even had a chance at spring growth. Mulch can help the roots stay protected, giving them a shield until the spring weather begins. It can also provide insulation to your plant’s roots from the freezing temperatures.


Mulch can be applied heavily before winter to help insulate the plant’s roots. In the spring, gently brush it away from where the plant will sprout, while leaving it around the base for added protection throughout the summer.

Applying mulch before Winter

However, it’s important to note that there is a difference in how to apply mulch in the winter versus the spring.

In the winter, mulch should be applied before the cold temperatures start to set in. At this time, we can apply it in a generous, heavy layer around perennials, roses and newly planted shrubs, especially those you’ve cut down. You can apply mulch right on top of the plant without worrying about damaging any new growth. Come spring, gently brush the mulch away from the top of where the plant will sprout. This will give it room to begin growing. The other bonus? When spring rolls around, you won’t have to beat the rush of spreading mulch because it will already be in your garden beds!

For more information on using mulch in your garden, feel free to contact us.