As the long, hot days of summer near their end, pumpkins appear on porches and scarecrows visit residential lawns.The leaves begin to fall in bright, scattered heaps, and (if you live in a climate with four seasons), the weather becomes chilly.
Fall is the perfect time for homeowners to prep the yard for winter. Take advantage of the mild weather and make sure your yard is ready to greet frost and lower temperatures.
A fall yard clean-up checklist
Fall yard maintenance involves readying your plants and grass for the dormant months of winter in order to optimize their spring regrowth, and ensuring that things such as gutters and patio furniture are clean and secure. It’s important to take advantage of mild weeks when you have time to do a thorough job so the yard is optimally protected for winter. Plus, nobody wants to be doing yardwork when the weather starts to get really cold.
Here are 10 easy items for your fall yard clean-up checklist. Once you check these off and the first bold cold front comes, you and your yard will be prepared to greet it.
1. Clear away lawn furniture and toys. Stack plastic chairs and store any toys or sporting equipment in the garage. It’ll make fall raking easier and when the first snow comes, you won’t risk ruining furniture or special toys.
2. Mow the grass short and fertilize. Fall is a perfect time to fertilize before the grass goes dormant for the winter, especially for cool season grasses that flourish during the fall months. Many experts recommend two fertilizations during the autumn months – one during September, and one around Thanksgiving. About.com gives further grass care tips for the fall, like applying herbicide to weeds and aerating the lawn.
3. Rake leaves. Either leave them for your recycling company or use them to mulch the flower beds. It’s also smart to use a leaf blower to get leaves out of every corner of the yard if you can to prevent mold from accumulating on leaves.
4. Water throughout the fall. Unless you get high amounts of rain, it’s a good idea to continue watering past summer’s official end. Take care to not overwater the lawn – a saturated lawn could perpetuate mold growth come winter.
5. Cut back dead growth on perennials. Pruning your plants will allow for regrowth come springtime. If you have annuals, you can pull them up once they die when the weather chills, or simply wait until spring.
6. Cover flowers and tree bases with mulch, compost, or dead leaves. For ideal protection from the winter weather, consider buying some nutrient-rich mulch from a landscape supply company to provide the best care against hard freezes that could kill your plants for good.
7. Plant any bulbs you’ll want at springtime. Although you can plant new bulbs come spring, the fall is a good time to get some smaller bulbs into the ground – and then you’ll have something already in the ground when the weather starts warming up, and you can enjoy watching it grow.
Outdoor appliance check
8. Cover the grill or take it in the garage. Many grills are built to withstand severe weather, but it’s still a good idea to cover it, or put it inside if you have the capacity.
9. Cover your fire pit. It’s a good idea to make sure the fire pit is protected in order to keep out snow drifts and ice.
10. Clean out the gutters. Before fall rains and winter snowstorms, you’ll to clear away any leaf or debris build-up within your gutters so that flow isn’t inhibited. Otherwise, water will flow off the roof in big sheets, potentially harming your siding and landscaping. Fox News gives a good guide for gutter clean up, complete with video.
These yard clean-up tasks are not difficult, but left undone, homeowners may miss their opportunity before cold weather hits – because you never know when the first frost will occur. Get your fall yard clean-up done early, and you’ll be ready to greet a new season.