Should you mulch plants in the fall? The short answer is: yes! Mulching around plants in autumn has all kinds of benefits. I mulch my gardens to retain moisture, suppress weeds, nourish the soil and prevent extreme soil-temperature fluctuations. In the spring, the first two reasons are most important. In autumn, the last two, especially the bit about temperature changes, are what makes it worth the effort.
All the reasons listed above are in play year round. But the special demands of fall and winter, different than the growing season, guide how we mulch and what we use. Ground doesn’t just freeze solid three months of the year here. It’s in a constant cycle of freeze and thaw, something that particularly stresses even dormant plants.