Fall has arrived! We’ve compiled a list of fall landscape chores that often get forgotten. Get your landscape ready for winter and give it a leg up in the spring by ticking off a few items on this check list.
- Fertilize your lawn. September usually brings a break from heat and dry weather, so it’s a time to give your lawn a feeding. The extra nutrients in fertilizer will also help your lawn withstand any late droughts or early frosts. Fertilizing again in November (around the time of the final mowing) will help your lawn survive the winter and green up earlier in the spring.
- Reseed or seed your lawn. The fall is a great time for installing a new lawn. The cooler weather and increase in precipitation in combination with the warm ground encourages root growth, making it an ideal situation for a young lawn.
- Plant for spring. Spring blooming bulbs and cool season vegetables are a no brainer, but did you know fall is great for planting new perennials, shrubs and trees? The conditions are perfect for young plants, not just turfgrass.
- Clean up. Whether you do it yourself or schedule a landscaping company to take care of it for you, most people take some time to tidy up before the winter. Raking up or blowing away fallen leaves is a must, since they can build up and smother grass and other plants, or promote winter mold. Don’t forget to clean out your landscape beds too! Removing tired annuals and dead material – especially anything that might be diseased – is important.
- Assess possible drainage and hardscape issues. Getting those leaky basement walls and soggy lawns checked out before the snow and ice is a must. Making sure your patios and retaining walls are stable and properly maintained will also help them weather the winter. And don’t forget to clean out those gutters!
- Repair that driveway. If you have a gravel driveway, it’s time to take care of those potholes and ruts. Otherwise, water will pool there and freeze and you’ll have a hard time navigating an icy driveway all winter. Regrading for drainage and capping it now will save you the headache.
- Add some warmth. As the temperatures begin their steady decline, it might seem like the end of your patio days for the year. But features like a fire pit can extend the time you spend outside well into the chillier months. Maybe consider adding a few new features to your backyard living space.
- Prune shrubs and trees. Once the leaves are gone, the structure of the plant is visible, making pruning for aesthetics, health and stability a breeze.
- Get your landscape beds ready for winter. Adding mulch will help insulate the roots. Giving your plants and shrubs a feeding with fertilizer in late fall is a great idea too. Tie up or shelter any delicate plants that might not tolerate the weight of the snow.
- Time for a final mow. Mowing the grass low is recommended, since diseases have a hard time propagating in shorter grass. But beware going too low, as grass plants make more of their food in the upper blades. 1 ½” – 2” is the happy medium.
- Prep your hardscape and other amenities for the winter. Put away lawn and patio furniture, and cover up outdoor amenities like kitchens or fire pits with a tarp or other cover to protect them from the snow. Don’t forget to bring in the hose! A frozen hose can lead to frozen, ruptured pipes.