Fall is the time to button up your yard. Smart gardening will not only protect it from damage that can be caused by frigid weather, but also help ensure that spring will emerge flawlessly.
Here are some tips from landscape experts that you can do during the autumn months to help prepare your lawn and garden for the spring:
- Target weeds – identify what weeds you want to kill, then buy a weed killer designed specifically to kill the plant you want to be rid of, then buy a weed killer designed specifically to kill the plant you want to be rid of.
- Battle crabgrass – if you have a small crabgrass problem, let the first frost kill it, then be prepared to apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the early spring. If crabgrass is taking over your lawn, it is advised to cut the seed-rich tops off the crabgrass before the first frost and rake them up. If you are really intent on eradicating large sections of crabgrass, spray on an herbicide, let the chemical dissipate for a couple of weeks, then sow grass seed.
- Give your lawn room to breathe – annual aeration in the fall is recommended.
- Fertilize well – if you are only going to fertilize once, do it in the fall. It helps give your lawn the strength to survive the winter and come back strong in the spring.
- Mow for the last time – for the last cutting, leave the grass at least 2 to 2 1/2 inches long. In cold climates it can encourage snow mold and in warmer climates short grass could be susceptible to other diseases.
- Rake and mulch – mulching leaves and spreading them over the flowerbeds is better than bagging. Don’t be afraid to mulch beds with your leaves. It is very beneficial to have decomposing leaf matter in the planting beds, they are packed with trace minerals that keep the plants healthier.
- Don’t turn off water too soon – October is the driest month in many parts of the country, so wait as long as practical before winterizing the irrigation system or rolling up the hose. It is also advised to give the ground one more last soaking before the shutoff.
- Maintain your equipment – change the oil and the air filters in all engine-powered equipment, as well as sharpening the blades and lubricating wheel bearings and throttle cables. Add fuel stabilizer to any gas-powered mowers and trimmers because it will make them easier to start in the spring.
- Delay trimming – prune woody ornamentals and trees after they are bare and dormant. After the leaves fall, the shape is easier to see and trimming during dormancy is healthier for the plants. Leave attractive perennials all winter, because they add visual interest, and sine they have multiple surfaces, they collect more snow and that keeps the plant hydrated.