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Mulching in Autumn

A straightforward question, can't find a precise answer on the latest you should mulch in Autumn.

I've read when the soil is still warm and moist, when's that exactly? Mid-October?

Reason being I have quite a few annual plants still doing well in the borders that I'll be taking out before mulching but obviously don't want to take them out unnecessarily early. 
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  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 4,189
    It depends why you're mulching, and where you live. Don't mulch dry soil is the cardinal rule. But other than that:

    If you are protecting frost tender plants, then before the first hard frosts - that varies hugely across the UK.

    If you are aiming to improve soil structure, then by Halloween is a good guide, as the soil is usually still warm enough for the worms to get working right away. 

    If you are trying to suppress weed growth, then as long as it's done by Valentine's Day, when the light levels start to increase, it'll be plenty soon enough.
    “It's not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing it.” ― Terry Pratchett
  • By Halloween it is then, cheers.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 17,022
    Mine goes on November to January. Before that I still have plants but as soon as theyve died down the compost goes on.  Any earlier there’s nowhere for it to go. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • FireFire LondonPosts: 8,259
    I'm just waiting for some rain.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 17,022
    I’m waiting for some rain to stop! 😀
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 27,242
    You must have our share @Lyn, we've still got cracks in the ground.
    Devon.
  • Why not mulh dry soil, after all nature does it?
  • I'd read that it can create a barrier, stopping a lot of moisture from getting in. 
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 4,189
    yes, quite right DH. The mulch gets wet but the soil under it doesn't. Which is fine if the soil underneath is damp when you start, but with the very dry weather some parts of the country have had this year, the ground is still parched, so it would be better to wait until we've had a decent deluge before putting a mulch down.
    “It's not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing it.” ― Terry Pratchett
  • Could always just soak it yourself assuming you don't have massive borders.
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