Fall landscaping chores are your last opportunity to prep your yard for the next growing season while also protecting it from winter damage. So grab your tools, pull on your gloves and follow these tips to ready your landscaping for the off-season.
- Groom the lawn. Before your lawn is covered with winter snow for weeks at a time, give it a good grooming. Rake and remove leaves and other debris. Toss some grass seed on the bare spots. Lightly compact the seeds, then water thoroughly and continue to water every other day for two weeks.
- Plant new shrubs. Fall is the best time to plant shrubs and trees because the soil is still warm enough to promote root development while the weather is cool. Newly planted trees and shrubs should be regularly watered until the ground freezes so they get a good start before going dormant during winter.
- Fertilize now for a healthy spring start. If you want your lawn to be green and relatively weed-free in spring, fall is the most important time to fertilize. Slow-release winterizing fertilizer feeds grass all winter long, so use a spreader to apply an even layer of fertilizer over the entire lawn.
- Mow short. As long as your lawn is growing, keep mowing into the fall to keep the grass healthy, strong and well-fed as it gears up for colder temperatures. When you are ready to mow for the last time, cut the turf down to around 1,5 inches. Short grass resists matting, making it better able to resist disease and damage from ice and snow.
- Stow summer furniture and equipment. It’s best to store outdoor patio furniture in a shed or garage in cold months. Metal, wicker, patio umbrellas and cloth seat cushions don’t hold up well to extremes in precipitation and temperature. Clean gardening tools before placing them back in storage so they will be ready for spring. After the last mowing, empty gas and oil from leaf blowers, lawn mowers and trimmers.
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