to blanketing the garden with mulch in fall. It's customary to do this work in spring but there are good reasons to follow Nature's lead in applying all that organic matter in fall. (How much mulch will you need? Check the Mulch Calculator.) We count seven advantages but just three drawbacks:
Below: Sometimes we shred the leaves before using them as mulch in fall but most of the time we rake 'em up and toss 'em on. Does it hurt the perennials to have 5 or 6 inches of leaves over them in fall? In 30 years of doing this we've seen far more good come of it than bad. The bad: Sometimes in spring we have to poke at hard clumps of leaves that are rising like hats as plants beneath push up. Most of the time, only 1-2 inches of leafy matter remains as mulch by spring and that's a perfect number.
Below, left: One day in early October we realize "it's about time to wind down."
Below, right: So by mid-October we come to the time to yank out, divide, and replace.
Below, left: However much organic matter we take out -- such as a wheelbarrow full of daylilies and their roots -- we put back that much compost. This is worm castings from a bait worm company.
Below, right: This creates some bare space.
We're happy if, when we finish in fall, every bare space has leaves on it, and all the plants, too.
For more about what we do when in fall, download our presentation, The Art of Fall Garden Clean-up.