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Winter Mulching

Richmond VA mulching

Mulching in Richmond

There's a general consensus among horticulturists that mulch offers great benefits in the garden. Aside from its aesthetic value, mulch offers a myriad of benefits for protecting the health of trees, shrubs and perennials. Today we'll talk about how mulch affects plants, the different types of mulch to choose from, and the best time for laying mulch in Richmond, VA.

Benefits of Mulch

We recommend mulching for reasons related to plant health, soil quality and aesthetics.

Plant Health

Mulch's primary purpose is to protect and improve the health of plants. It helps retain moisture during the extreme periods of summer and winter, it keeps surface roots protected from extreme heat and cold, and it helps control weed occurrence.

Soil Quality

Mulch improves the structure, aeration and drainage of soil. It also helps prevent soil erosion!


Let's not forget that mulch looks great! As any realtor will tell you, a fresh layer of mulch in your garden beds is an easy and cost-effective way to instantly beautify your yard, increasing curb appeal.


When to Lay Mulch

Many garden enthusiasts equate spring with a fresh layer of mulch. Sprouts bursting through the mulch layer, tender buds forming on new spring growth, the fragrance of shredded hardwood thick in the air; these are all traditional signs that spring is finally here. But it may surprise some that the best time to mulch in Richmond, Virginia is actually during early winter.

Although mulching can be done any time of year, we recommend a 2"-3" layer of mulch applied to plant beds as early as January and no later than March. Here's why:

Protect plant roots from winter weather

Richmond weather is often unpredictable, swinging from warm and sunny to harsh and freezing in a short time. By adding a protective layer of mulch before the harshest weather commences, plant roots are protected from bitter cold and the stress of a quickly changing climate.

Help retain moisture

Further to Richmond's extreme weather, we tend to swing from extremely wet to dangerously dry conditions throughout the winter months. Mulch offers excellent water retention to keep plants healthy even during periods of dormancy.

Get a jump start on spring

By the time those first sprouts poke through in early spring, your beds will have been protected through everything winter presented and will be healthier and ready to thrive. Beds can be freshened with a light layer of new mulch and a quick edging if aesthetically desired.


Types of Mulch

The mulch you choose will depend on a number of factors, including personal taste. Here is a quick breakdown of the types of mulches commonly used in Richmond.

Double Shredded Hardwood Mulch

This is the type most commonly used and comes in a variety of colors - brown, dark brown, black, red.

Photo credit: Yardworks


Fine Pine Mulch

This mulch works well with various textures and colors in your garden. As it breaks down, it turns into valuable nutrients for the soil. We recommend this type of mulch for level beds, as its lighter weight increases possibility of washing.

Photo credit: Pete Rose Inc.


Pine Tag Mulch or Pine Straw

Here's a great looking, earth friendly option that adds a distinctive look to your garden. We recommend blowing leaves into bed areas in the fall. Pine tags are placed on top of the leaf layer and both layers break down into a beneficial compost, feeding your gardens as they decompose.


Pine Nugget Mulch

Primarily used for its looks, this type of mulch does not offer the same benefits as other mulches.


More questions? Terra Firma Landscape offers consultations for your mulching needs in Richmond as well as the counties of Henrico, Hanover, Goochland and surrounding areas.

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