As the sun sets earlier, the evenings get cooler and the leaves change color, you know summer is fading. While we typically associate fall with raking leaves, there’s much more you can do to prepare your landscaping for winter so it’s healthy for spring.
Here are 8 Landscaping Tips you can start doing today:
1. Tidy Up
August is an ideal time to begin cleaning up. Start by cutting brush away from areas that are not normally mowed. Remove dying branches from shrubs and trees, dead annuals, heavy leaf cover, and any snails and slugs that may feed on them. Trim perennial foliage down to the ground. Now you won’t have to look at dead landscaping all winter.
Mulching can help protect roots from frost and help them retain their moisture throughout winter. Spread out 2-3” of mulch around shrubs and trees after the first light frost. Make sure to use hardwood shredded mulch from a reliable source as opposed to free mulch from municipal piles. This type of mulch may be made of diseased trees that can contain disease spores. You don’t want to add that to your landscaping.
3. Aerate the Lawn
The fall is a great time to aerate and help rejuvenate your lawn as there is minimal weed pressure, cooler temperatures and increased moisture. Rainfall may leave puddles on the grass, compressing the soil, and possibly depriving the roots of water and muchneeded nutrients. Grab your garden fork for smaller lawns, or a walk-behind aerator for larger lawns that can pull out 2½-to 3-inch-deep soil plugs. Your lawn will thank you come spring.
4. Feed Your Grass
During the fall, grass growth slows down but the grass roots keep growing until the ground gets down to around 40 degrees. Properly feeding your lawn a high-phosphorus (12-25-12) mix in the fall helps keep roots healthy and protects the grass from the colder winter months. This will help your grass to come up earlier and greener in the springtime.
5. Pickup Leaves
Leaves that are left on the grass can get packed down and smother it. You can rake fallen leaves onto a plastic tarp or blow them onto it using a walk-behind leaf blower. This will make the leaves easier to transport for removal or to a compost bin.
6. Plant Something New
Fall is the best time to start thinking about the colorful flowers that will bloom in the spring. Any nursery can help you chose the best bulbs to plant now while the ground is still soft. Make sure to follow the grower’s directions and plant the bulbs low enough in the ground so they don’t freeze. If you prefer to plant shrubs, you can do this early in the fall to give them a head start on establishing roots when the season is cool and the soil moist.
7. Turn Off Water Systems
Your irrigation system most likely contains water leading into the fall months, so any water still in your system over the winter can freeze and possibly crack the system. To help prevent this, simply shut the water off, unscrew the tap-joint adapter and use an air hose connected to a compressor on a high-volume, low-pressure setting and blow the water out. This beats having to replace the entire system when spring comes.
8. Don’t Neglect Your Garden Tools
We’ve touched on your lawn, but what about your garden tools? Don’t just throw them in your shed or garage and forget about them, take care of them so they are ready for spring. Make sure that all your tools are in working order and cleaned before you put them away. Any soil or moisture or other debris left on them, could make them unusable for upcoming seasons.
A Month-by-Month Lawn Maintenance Guide