Fall is here and the weather is already starting to cool down. As we get closer to the below zero winter months, remember that there is a lot of maintenance to do to your lawn before freezing begins. To help you organize your fall lawn care, here is a comprehensive list of maintenance items you should perform or hire someone to perform on your behalf.
If you have water that is sitting in your sprinkler systems or drip irrigation, it has the potential to freeze during the winter and crack the hose and tubing. To prevent an expensive repair in the spring time, it is important to call a professional to blow the water out of the system and winterize it.
Aeration in your lawn is important if you have the type of yard that loves to collect pools of rainfall, making parts of your lawn a bit of a marsh pit during wet weather. You need to “fluff” the soil with an aerator to allow nutrients to reach the roots. After aerating, you need to find a good winter fertilizer mixture to feed your grass that will continue to grow until 40-degree marks hit. Fertilizing your lawn one last time will encourage the grass to grow green and lush in the spring.
Right after the first frost hits, you want to mulch your plant beds to keep your plants warm during the winter. This also helps prevent soil erosion around your plants. Depending on the type of shrubs you want, planting them in early fall will help the plant establish roots in the soil before springtime. Be sure your hole is deep enough and that you do not pack the soil down. You want to give the roots space to grow and allow water to filter through.
Perennials and tree limbs will need to be trimmed and cared for before winter hits. For your perennials, you need to trim the annuals that are starting to droop and die as they attract more bugs that can kill other perennials. Trim down to the ground to allow more energy into the roots. If you notice your plants are crowding, divide them to continue growth of perennials. Dead limbs on trees should be cut away before a winter storm can blow the branch onto your home and cause damage. Trimming the branches properly will also allow the tree to heal throughout winter and spring.
Especially if you have a large number of trees in your yard, your lawn will be a leafy mess. Leaves that rest on your lawn will destroy the grass roots unless they are picked up. You can either rake and bag the leaves or create a compost bin that will turn the leaves into excellent mulch come springtime.
As part of your fall lawn care, it is important that your yard get one last mow before the cold weather sets in. But there is more to this than just turning on a mower and going across your yard! There is a certain length you need to cut your grass to ensure disease does not rampage your lawn over the winter and into early spring. Cutting your yard to about 1-1 ¼ of an inch will help prevent growth issues and will make it easier to clean up leaves because there is nothing to grab onto. Be careful not to cut too low or you will have dead grass in the spring.