It’s no secret that fall is often a time when it’s easy to neglect lawn care and maintenance. Aside from raking leaves, most don’t know there are several other necessary tasks to prepare your yard for the winter months. Tending to your lawn and landscapes in the fall protects them during the winter and drastically cuts back on the maintenance required in the spring. Do you know where to start? Check out the following checklist to help you tend to all the fall needs of your lawn!
- Clean up Debris: This task is one you might have to revisit frequently throughout the fall months as the trees shed their leaves. Take advantage of warm days to routinely rake up dead leaves and remove sticks, fallen branches, etc. to keep your yard free from any debris. Raking leaves onto a tarp makes for easy removal and makes composting easy.
- Aerate: During the summer months, rain tends to pool in certain parts of your yard. Aerating helps to resolve the damaging effects of compressed soil and allows water and nutrients to reach the roots of the grass so it grows back lush and green in the spring! This task often requires professional equipment.
- Feed your yard: Grass continues to grow until temperatures dip to around 40 degrees, which means grass still needs some attention well into autumn months. As the harsh summer heat eases up, fall is the ideal time to seed and fertilize so those roots get fed one last time before winter. Feed your yard by seeding in bare spots and giving the entire yard a quick “once-over” of both seed and fertilizer. Similar to aerating, this will help the grass grow back thick and healthy come spring!
- Prune perennials and trees: Break out your shears and pruning tools to trim any dead tree branches and cut back perennials close to the ground. Fall is also a great time to divide and relocate perennials so they have a chance to take root before winter. Just be sure to do this before temperatures drop too much. Generously water any newly planted perennials.
- Tend to flower beds: Be sure not to skip over flower beds! Clear these areas of dead leaves and debris and lay down a layer of fresh mulch before the ground freezes. This provides nutrients over the winter and will protect the roots. This is especially necessary for flower beds with young plants. If you’re considering adding new shrubs to flower beds, fall is a great time for planting! Planting shrubs in the fall offers the roots a headstart so they’ll be well established and grow in fuller in the spring.
- Weatherproof the deck/patios: Most decks and patios require some degree of weatherproofing every few years, if not annually. Snow and freezing temperatures are especially hard on outdoor spaces, so be sure you’re up to date on any necessary weatherproofing.
- Mow: It’s easy to become lax on mowing once fall arrives, but it’s essential to keep your grass between 2-21/2 inches. If grass grows much longer than that, it will have trouble maintaining nutrients over the winter. Long grass also mattes beneath leaves/ snow and is prone to winter lawn disease problems. It’s hard to pinpoint a precise time to get in that “last mow”, as it depends on the year, the temperatures, the amount of rainfall, and the yard. So, when a warm autumn day rolls around, glance at the yard and be sure to mow if it looks like it needs it!
- Dry out/Shut off water: Before the first freeze, be sure to shut off all water lines outdoors, drain automatic sprinklers, and store hoses. An air compressor can also be used to blow out remaining moisture from pipes to prevent water from freezing as this can cause pipes to crack.
- Clean and store tools: Once you’ve completed the fall cleanup checklist, clean and store tools in a garage or shed for winter. Be sure winter equipment, such as shovels and snowblowers, are easily accessible. Lock up sheds to ensure they don’t become home to little critters as the cold settles in.
Yard maintenance can feel like a lot of work, especially in the fall, but this seasonal checklist will help you tackle the main tasks to keep your lawn and landscape looking its best! Interested in professional help? Lawn and Landscape maintenance is our specialty! Contact us for a quote today!