Fall can sometimes be the forgotten season when it comes to caring for your lawn and landscape. Many people just focus on cleaning up leaves and don’t realize that their landscape still needs care in order to keep it in good health for the next spring. Preparing your landscape for the coming colder months is essential to keep it healthy and prosperous all year. Winter can be very damaging to your landscaping design. The heavy weight of snow and cold weather is not always good for all plants and design components. But putting in some work now will give you a hug (green) payoff come spring.
Here are our top tips to keep your landscape healthy this fall:
Pull Weeds – Weeds are not just prevalent in the spring and summer. “Weeds” is just a blanket term for everything growing in a lawn that isn’t the grass you want. Some of them have annual lifecycles while others are perennials. Some have life cycles that begin in the spring while others sprout in the fall. Getting rid of those seasonal weeds now and will reduce their prevalence in the next season.
Clean Up Leaves – Rake and remove the leaves in your yard to avoid damage to the grass. In winter, freezing and thawing can cause leaves, dead grass, and other organic debris to release soluble forms of phosphate and nitrates. If these chemicals run off the frozen ground during spring snowmelt and early spring rains, they can end up in surface water and damage your grass.
Seed and Fertilize – Fall is a great time to fertilize and seed your lawn to give it that extra boost it needs to get through the cold winter and come out green on the other side during spring. Fall is the ideal time to give your lawn the TLC it needs after the heat and activity of summer and before the harsh winter months. Generally, cool-season grasses should be fertilized September through November and warm-season grasses should be fertilized a bit earlier. Seed dead or bare spots and overseed the full lawn to get dense, plush grass, rich in color.
Keep Cutting Your Lawn – Keep your grass at 2 to 2½ inches tall throughout the fall. If your grass gets much taller (greater than 3 inches) it will mat, and this could lead to winter lawn disease problems such as snow mold. If you cut it shorter than 2 inches, you’ll severely limit its ability to make and store food for growth in the spring and encourage weed growth.
Continue Watering – Give trees and shrubs a deep watering after the leaves on the trees drop and just before turning the outside irrigation off for the season. Even though it is cooler in the fall, lawns still need regular watering to maintain plant health and better survive winter conditions. Water until the ground begins to freeze.
Trim and Prune – Trimming and pruning landscape plants, trees, and shrubs in the fall will help it to maintain its look throughout winter and into spring. A good starting point for pruning any plant is to remove dead, diseased, or damaged stems as soon as you see them. Dead stems attract insects and invite diseases to develop. Cut most perennials back close to the ground.
A Few Other Things – Before winter rolls around, remove all unneeded and seasonal items from your lawn and other landscaped area. Certain landscaping accents are better kept in storage during the colder months. Also, things like irrigation systems need to have maintenance done and taken care of for the winter.
Our top tips can help you keep your landscaping looking fresh for fall and ready for winter. If this seems like a lot to manage this fall, our Total Property Maintenance Package handles all this and more. From start to finish we can help you prepare your yard for fall and keep it safe throughout winter. And it will make all of the difference when things begin to bloom again in the spring.