There’s no denying it any longer! Temperatures are cooling, and it won’t be long now until fall takes over for summer. Before the cold weather sets in for good, there are a few important tasks that should be on everyone’s garden maintenance checklist. We all know how long winter can last, and without the right preparation, your property will be in poor shape come spring!
Add the following five tasks to your fall landscaping checklist to make sure your yard stays healthy through the cold months:
1. Mow the Lawn One Last Time
Mowing the lawn one last time serves a few functions. Firstly, it’s more difficult for disease to thrive on shorter grass. Secondly, fallen leaves will be less likely to accumulate on your grass, as they will simply be blown across the lawn. We recommend aiming for 1 ¼ inch length — any shorter and your grass will have trouble obtaining nutrients as food is absorbed through the upper part of the blade.
2. Aerate Your Grass
Aerating your grass will prevent rainfall from pooling on your lawn and damaging the landscape. Aerating compressed soil also allows nutrients to fully reach the roots. If your lawn is a reasonable size, you can probably get away with using a garden fork. If you have a large property, you might want to invest in a walk-behind aerator.
3. Feed Your Grass
Come late summer, it’s best to cut back on fertilizer, but as soon as there is a chill in the air, it’s time to start feeding your lawn again! Grass roots will grow until it really gets cold, so feed these roots with a high-phosphorus fertilizer mix come fall for a greener lawn come spring! Use your best judgment depending on your lawn’s needs, but generally, a 12-25-12 mix will do the trick.
4. Collect Dead Leaves
Raking any dead leaves is important for maintaining your lawn’s integrity! It can be a fun activity too if you enlist the help of your kids. You can also make use of the leaves you collect by investing in a compost bin and starting a leaf pile. That way, come summer, your leaf pile will have transformed into an all-natural fertilizer that you can use to feed your garden.
5. Trim Damaged Limbs
Trimming any dead or damaged tree limbs will prevent those branches from cracking and falling come winter. Look for any loose or diseased limbs and chop them off! You can leave the cut exposed to heal. This is a safe enough task to do yourself for smaller trees. For bigger trees, we recommend having a professional take care of it for you.