Fall is such an amazing season. Crisper air, falling multi-colored leaves, hot apple cider – all those things make the fall, well, the fall that we love. Of course, winter follows not long behind, and you know what that means. It’s time to do an outdoor fall cleanup in preparation! Here are a few tips to make sure your outdoor spaces are prepared for the colder weather…
Organic waste like leaves and weeds provide havens for pests like mice. As your trees shed their foliage, you’ll want to rake regularly to remove dead leaves and other debris that will smother the grass and prevent growth. In addition to attracting critters to your yard, excessive debris can damage your yard’s drainage, resulting in problems once all the snow melts.
Keeping leaf piles under control
Make sure to rake your leaves into rows instead of piles. They are more manageable that way and are more easily separated. Afterwards, use a tarp and either throw or rake all your leaves onto it for easier disposal to the curb. If you prefer a more eco-friendly method of disposal, before the snow starts to fall, run your lawn mower over the fallen leaves to shred them into tiny flakes. They will settle into the autumn grass and decompose into a natural fertilizer.
Remove dead shrubs and trees
Check for signs of life by scratching the bark at the base to see if there is any green underneath. If no green appears under the bark, it might be dead. If the tree or bush is completely dead, it’s best to cut it down and dig it out before the ground freezes.
Don’t stop mowing yet
Once fall begins to draw to a close and the temperature begins to drop, set your mower’s blades to their lowest setting for the last two cuts of the season. This will allow more sunlight to reach the crown of the grass and help the soil dry out faster in the spring.
Aerate the lawn
Aerating your lawn will remove thatch, alleviate soil compaction and beautify your grass overall. Having excess thatch or heavy organic debris under the grassy surface can starve the roots from essential elements like air and water. Experts say the best time to aerate your lawn is in the fall during the growing season. Grass can heal and fill open areas more quickly once soil plugs are removed.
Mulch around plants and trees
Mulching around plants during your fall yardwork has several benefits, from preventing soil erosion to suppressing weeds. Be sure to give perennials and cool-weather annuals a 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch to keep them healthy during the colder season. Applying mulch in the fall can also eliminate weed growth, leaving you with none to pull in the spring.
The garden needs maintenance too
Prepping your garden in the fall will make a huge difference when plant again in the spring. Before the cold temperatures harden the ground, remove all weeds and debris to prevent insects and diseases from settling in the winter. Water your garden plants diligently. You might also consider trimming perennial vegetables and herbs back a few inches once the ground is frozen.
Now, you are all set. Happy Fall Cleanup!