If you want your spring landscape to stand apart next year, then getting started during the fall is a pre-requisite. Your spring flowers, fruits, vegetables and plush green grass won’t flourish into the bright colors, ripe succulents or desired “carpet-like feel” without partaking in steps to refresh and revitalize your landscape before the winter months.
Take A Walk:
Walk around your landscape and inspect how each area of your yard has progressed throughout the past year. Take notice of plants or tress that may have disease, are over grown or dead. Make a mental note of spaces in your landscape where plants have flourished and places they have not so that you can find the correct type of plant for that area.
Trim Dead Branches and Plants:
Large, lifeless branches can be dangerous to you and your home, especially during the winter months when snow and wind take over. Protect smaller trees from further damage by trimming diseased branches close to (but not flush with) the trunk. For larger trees, call a certified professional to assess the situation. Trees add value to a property (some real-estate experts says healthy trees increase property values by $15,000) so don’t shy away from quality maintenance.
Gardens and Beds:
Snails and slugs tend to feed on annuals that are left to decompose in gardens. Take time to remove the annuals and snails/slugs from your landscape so that your spring beds will be healthier. Plant your bulbs and mark them with a small stick so that you don’t disturb them during your spring planting. Trim perennial foliage down to the ground; this sends energy to the roots, for next season. Every three years, divide crowded plants to make room for more flowers to bloom.
Mulch Young Plants:
Till decomposed mulch or compost into your soil to give plants fresh and vital nutrients to survive the winter. Then after a light frost, but before the ground freezes, place a 2-4 inch layer of mulch around the plants you have tilled to give them warmth and protection from runoff during the cold weather.
Once you have remedied your plants, gardens and beds for the winter months, utilize the tips below to make your lawn pop back to life after months of snow.
Collect Those Leaves
Save the leaves collected from your gutters and lawn to create a compost bin in your yard.
There are a variety of materials that can be used to contain your compost, but something as simple as chicken wire will do the trick.
Transport leaves to your compost pile via a large plastic tarp to make the job a little easier.
Flip the leaves in your compost weekly to ensure that they will be ready to “feed” next year’s beds and lawn.
For the last cut of the season, take your turf down to 1¼ inches. Less leaves will get caught in your lawn if it is shorter and disease will have a difficult time latching on. Grass receives most of its nutrients from the upper parts of its blade; cutting your lawn shorter than the recommended height may result in its inability to grow.
Grass roots keep growing until the temperature gets to about 40 degrees which means that fall is a perfect time to apply high phosphorus mixes to encourage root growth so you’re your lawn will be that bight green you want in the spring.
Aerating your lawn is a good practice to follow for anyone trying to maintain a healthy landscape but especially for homeowners who have rainfall pools on their grass, high traffic areas or a lot of shade. The technique of aerating allows water and nutrients to reach the roots of your lawn by pulling out plugs of compressed soil. You can utilize a garden fork for smaller areas but for larger sections a walk-behind aerator is more efficient.
Preparing your landscape during the fall is an essential part of cultivating its life and ability to produce in the spring.
Here are a few other useful tips for your landscape that will put you ahead come spring time.
- Clean Your Exterior: Power wash the exterior of your home and hardscape surfaces before salt or other chemicals trap stains into them. Power washing will also enable you to look over surfaces (driveway, patios, etc.) and make sure they are not in need of repair before the ice and snow comes.
- Irrigation Systems: Turn off the water to your irrigation system and blow out the line so that no water is left to freeze and crack the tubing. Calling an expert to complete this is best, but simple systems can be dried by using a low pressure setting on a compressor to blow out residual water.
- Repair and Clean Tools: Since you won’t be using your mower, weed whacker, edger, or hedge trimmer during the winter, sharpen and clean your tools before you put them away for the season. You’ll be happy you did when spring comes and your landscape is flourishing because of your fall clean-up.