What's Better: Spring Mulch or Fall Mulch?

One of the services I currently offer is mulching, and one question I hear a lot is: when should I mulch, in the spring or the fall?  

It's a really good question, and one I definitely have an opinion about!  

Timing Impacts Supply and Service

Landscaping is a seasonal business, particularly if you live somewhere with cold, snowy winters! This means that at certain times of the year you'll receive quicker service or have more options.  

When it comes to mulch, the busiest time of year is spring into summer.  This is also when most suppliers will have the most selection and the greatest amount of available mulch.  From experience, I've learned that waiting until fall to buy large quantities of mulch means that you might struggle to find a supplier, or struggle to find enough mulch.  

However, if you decide to mulch in the spring, you may have to deal with higher demand and a longer wait time.  Many companies are extremely busy, and it may take more effort to coordinate delivery and application.  

From experience, I prefer to do large mulch jobs in early spring, when I know my suppliers have a lot of mulch available, and when I know that they're probably not too busy.  

Mulch Is Optimally Attractive For A Few Months

Most mulches are organic, which means they decompose as time passes.  That's a good thing for your soil, but perhaps not the best thing for your landscape's appearance.   Also, if you purchase a dyed mulch, the color will fade as it is exposed to the sun, rain, and other elements.

Because of this, I recommend mulching in the spring. . .particularly if you live in an area that receives snowy or harsh winters.  If you mulch in the spring, your mulch will look the freshest and most attractive during the months when you are likely to be outdoors, enjoying your landscape.  If you mulch in the winter, it may still look nice. . .but you may not be able to see it if it's buried under snow! 

Mulch Doesn't Last Forever

Also, if you live where winter weather is harsher than spring weather, be aware the elements will break down mulch faster in winter.  Remember, even though mulch decomposes, you want to slow that process as much as you can, and I believe mulching in the spring accomplishes this! 

Bottom Line

My clear preference is the early spring mulch!  I think you have more selection, better service, more time to enjoy mulch at it's most attractive, and you are slowing the decomposition process.  

Linda KelsoComment