It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year, when burnt orange and deep reds take over the trees and crisp winds have never felt more refreshing. The change in season also brings on some serious yard work to help your lawn and garden brave the cold weather. There are several things to consider when preparing your yard for the bitter cold and a list of must-do’s.
- Get rid of those leaves
This is probably the biggest concern and for good reasons: Leaves left on your lawn can suffocate the grass and block the sun, which can leave large brown spots and kill areas of your grass. If it is a particularly rainy season, the leaves can lock in too much moisture which can lead to fungus. If raking is a definite no for you, be sure to mow them and use the broken-up leaves as a natural mulch.
Speaking of locking in too much moisture, it is also important to aerate compressed soil. This creates air pockets that allow nutrients, and oxygen to reach the roots of your grass and plants. Core aeration is always more effective during cooler wet weather, when the soil is damp, making autumn one of the more ideal times of the year.
- Don’t forget the mower
Just because the air is a little crisper, doesn’t mean the grass stops growing. In fact, it won’t stop until the temperature is almost at the freezing point. Until then, keep up with your regular mows. You’ll want to keep your grass at a height of about 2.5-3-inches. Keeping it any longer could make your lawn more susceptible to fungus, and any shorter can make it too weak for the harsh winters.
- Feed your grass
A little fertilizer goes a long way, especially at this time of year. Adding some fertilizer will not only provide your grass with the proper nutrients it needs to survive during the winter months, but it will also give it the power to revive itself come spring. Finding one with a higher Nitrogen level will allow it to recoup from a hot summer and prepare for a cold winter. Be sure to feed your lawn while its still growing, so it can absorb the nutrients properly.
- Don’t forget your plants and shrubs
During your fall clean up, you’ll want to prepare your plants and shrubs for the cold, wet, winter. This starts with some basic maintenance like cutting back perennials and pruning shrubs. Following this, you’ll want to top-dress your garden beds with aged or composted mulch. Top-dressing provides a barrier from the colder weather and helps to retain moisture during droughts. Once the pruning and mulching are done, it is best to wrap some of the more sensitive plants in burlap wrap.
There you have it. Everything you need to know about cleaning up this fall and preparing for the winter. Trust us, the hard work will pay off and you’ll notice a significant difference come spring.