Make your life easier in the fall and winter by being proactive in the summer. Check out these tips for preparing your lawn and garden for the colder months ahead. As fall weather takes hold, you must change your gardening practices to prepare your landscape for the season ahead.
Assess the Damage
A flower garden can tell you a lot at the end of the growing season. You’ll want to assess the results of all your spring and summer work and prepare the garden for next spring. First, take a walk around your park and look at how all the plants did over the summer—track the successes and failures of individual plants. Identify which plants have outgrown their space and need to be divided.
Fall Lawn Watering
Your lawn still needs water during the fall, even though the leaves are changing, the growing season is winding down, and your grass isn’t growing as fast. Fall watering helps your lawn recover from summer stress and gain strength for the winter ahead. If you fertilize in the fall, watering is necessary for the fertilizer to dissolve and soak into the ground where it’s needed.
Don’t put your hoses or sprinklers away until the ground starts to freeze—your fall grass still needs water
Fertilize in the Fall
If you want the best lawn in town, fertilize 2-4 times a year. But if you can only fertilize once a year, fertilizing in the fall will still give your lawn a nice look. Ask an expert at a garden center for advice about the best fertilizer blend for your grass type and local soil conditions. Check your average frost date to determine when to fertilize in the fall.
Start by applying the fertilizer about three weeks before the last mow of the season. Fertilizing in the fall provides energy and nutrients for the grass roots as they multiply in cooler weather before the grass goes dormant. The roots also store food for the winter, which gives the grass an initial growth spurt when it emerges from dormancy in the spring.
Clear Gutter Spouts
This is an ongoing fall chore that shouldn’t be overlooked. Clean all those wet leaves from gutter spouts before the blockages damage your gutters and roof. Some homeowners use plumber’s snakes to pull clumps of wet leaves out of clogged spouts.
Preparing your Lawn
Within the first six weeks of fall, it will be the ideal time to sow cool-season grasses such as fescue and rye. It will allow them to germinate and develop a good root system before freezing temperatures arrive.
Aerate and Overseed Your Lawn
During The summer, your grass begins to lose vitamins and minerals because the soil has become dry under the hot sun. Aeration during the autumn months allows oxygen and nutrients to re-enter the soil, which helps grass grow a stronger root base and prepares your lawn for fall.
You should also overseed your lawn after aeration. Like tall fescue, certain grasses stay green year-round and don’t regenerate. You must plant new grass yearly to ensure your property remains lush and healthy. Overseeding will also fix any bare spots on your lawn.
Consider Planting Perennials
Perennials are always a good choice for fall planting as they offer beauty to your gardens yearly, unlike annuals that suffer during the cold winter.
Mulch and Compost
Add compost and mulch to your flower beds as you plant your autumn garden. The compost will provide your new plantings with the nutrients they need to thrive during the winter, while the mulch will provide much-needed water and stop weed growth.