If you are an avid gardener or a commercial property owner in Calgary, you have put a lot of time, effort and money invested in making things grow and look good in this tough climate. At Mirage Landscaping we are big fans of the benefits of mulch as one way of getting your plants, shrubs and trees through our harsh winters.
Think of mulch as a kind of top dressing specifically for your garden areas. The term describes pretty much every applied ground cover or soil amendments out there. Some mulches break down slowly over time, such as bark mulch, all the while offering nutrients to the underlying soil. Decorative rocks obviously do not break down, but they still provide moisture retention and prevention against soil erosion and compaction. Inorganic mulches – like rubber mulch – is made from recycled tires and is said to last longer while also providing vibrant colour to your garden and planted areas.
Applying mulch before winter is a wise move. No one knows what the Calgary weather will bring. It could be a relatively warm with a few Chinooks, or we could easily be plunged into a long and hard freeze with plenty of snow.
With a generous application of mulch in your beds, and around the roots of your shrubs and trees, you and your plants are covered no matter which way the winter develops.
How Mulch Works
All mulches will provide a degree of temperature stability by becoming a direct layer of insulation for your plants. In the winter, mulch helps to protect roots from frost damage and heaving caused by the freeze/thaw cycles we routinely see in the region. Come early thaws or the fullness of spring, mulch will continue to stabilize the soil temperature when the days are warming and the nights are still chilly.
Mulch that is water absorbent will also keep meltwater from pooling near your plant and then freezing, which is a potentially deadly development.
Finally, some mulches look better than others do and can serve a decorative function, which might be the only ground cover if snows are late or don’t come much at all.
Removable Winter Mulch
There are various cheaper options for winter mulch that perhaps isn’t as attractive as other choices, but it doesn’t matter if it will be removed come spring.
Winter is the season of readily available and easily made mulch in the form of grass clippings and leaves, both which share the desirable trait of being fully biodegradable.
If you are going to use leaves, it is best that they be shredded for two reasons: 1) intact leaves are more likely to be blown out of the beds by winds, creating hazards if they decompose upon hard surfaces such as sidewalks or concrete steps, and 2) shredding the leaves will give them more surface area to break down more efficiently over time for more easy cleanup in the spring.
Another mulch that is ideal for spreading into beds before winter is compost. We are huge fans of compost, and fall is a great time to have Mirage Landscaping amend your beds, or the area around the base of trees and shrubs, with your black gold. Not only will the compost offer a nice hit of nutrients to the plantings it is applied to, and will serve as that winter temperature-regulating layer your plants need to get to next spring unscathed.
Fall Clean Up and Mulch Applications from Mirage
Mirage Landscaping can provide a thorough fall clean-up or leaf removal for your property, and also performs snow removal services for the winter. We are a full-service residential and commercial landscaping design, construction, and maintenance firm serving Calgary and area.
Contact us for a free quote on any size job.