Fall is probably more important to the overall health and beauty of your landscaping than what you do in the spring. What you do now sets the tone for the spring growing season.
Here are a few things you can do this fall to help your lawn.
Don’t skip a late season mow
Most experts say to cut the grass short, but not too short. Shorter grass is a deterrent for disease, but grass makes most of its food in the upper blade. About 1.25 inches is optimal, depending on your climate and type of grass.
Feed your grass
Until the ground reaches about 40 degrees, grass roots keep growing. Healthy root system equals healthy grass, which means your grass will get green earlier in the spring.
Aerate the lawn
Rainfall pooling in the yard is an indicator that you have compressed soil. Water and nutrients aren’t able to reach the roots. An aerator is not something that every homeowner has, of course, but they can be found at most businesses that rent equipment.
Trim existing trees and shrubs
Dead tree branches are more likely to fall under the weight of snow and pressure by winter winds. Falling limbs can cause damage to your home. For trees, you’re better off calling a professional tree trimmer, but you can help small trees and bushes by cutting cracked or diseased limbs. This will promote new growth in the spring.
Replace and replenish mulch
Nature provides a bounty for your flower beds in the leaves that fall from the trees every autumn. Mulch the leaves and combine them with straw and other organic matter and till it into the soil. The best time to do so is after the first light frost but before the ground freezes. Not only will this help feed your plants over the winter, it will help stop soil erosion.
Install new plants
If you plan to add new plants in the spring, consider doing it in the fall. The cool, moist fall soil helps new shrubs to establish their root systems, which means that it will grow more in the spring.
TLC for your flower beds
Get rid of any annuals that are in the process of dying anyway. Trim back perennials will help the plants to use energy better by sending it into the roots rather than into the leaves, which means your plants will get off to a better start next spring.
Make your own compost
One of the best nutrients you can give your lawn is free and naturally void of chemicals, yet most homeowners waste it. We’re talking about leaves. Rather than sending it off to the dump or paying a compost company to haul it away, build a small compost pen and dump your leaves into it. Give it a turn every week or so and you’ll be making the best compost you can have for free.
Taking the time and making the effort this fall means you’ll have less work and more time to enjoy your lawn and landscape next spring.