Fall Gardening Tips for Your Lawn and Garden
While you may be sad to see your garden go at the end of summer, there is still much work to be done to prepare your garden and lawn for the next growing season. Preparing for the seasonal shift is a key step toward keeping your garden and yard healthy during dormant periods so you can pick up where you left off when the warmer weather returns.
Fall is also proven to be an excellent time to plant right before the frosty winter months. Learn how to prepare your garden or lawn for the fall months below!
Take Care of Dead Plants
Dead plants are not a pleasant sight for people who work hard on their garden. While you may want to trim them down to the ground, it is more beneficial for your garden to trim dead leaves and lightly trim back dead plant matter that will create compost mulch for your garden bed.
When you do trim the leaves and plants, add them to your compost pile for more compost. You also will be able to continue watching birds in your garden if you leave seed heads and ornamental grasses in place throughout the winter; they’ll have a feast while the dead plants make your garden ready for healthy plants in the spring.
Rake Dead Leaves
There has been some conflicting advice about how to handle dead leaves in the fall: some people say to put down the rake and allow them to stay, while others say to rake them off. The truth is, both sides are right. You should allow leaves that fall into your garden to stay there, because they add nutrients to your soil and provide cover to prevent weed growth in the spring.
On the other hand, you should rake leaves from your yard because they can pile up and kill the grass underneath. Layers of leaves invite pests and diseases into your yard, and a layer of leaves on your grass prevents water, nutrients, and healthy air flow from reaching your lawn’s roots.
Prepare Your Yard by Mowing, Aerating, and Fertilizing
While you may enjoy a break from mowing, do not neglect your yard just because the weather turns cooler. To keep your grass healthy, winter gardeners need to prepare your yard before the snow flies, and you need to do more than mow. Drop your mower’s blade to the lowest setting for the last two cuttings of the year.
More sunlight will reach the grass, and there will be less that turns brown during winter. You may want to gradually lower the blade throughout fall, so you don’t trim off more than one-third of your grass blades at any time.
You also should aerate your lawn to make it easier for oxygen, water, and fertilizer to reach its roots before the ground freezes. You can rent an aerator or hire a landscaper if you don’t want to go to the expense of purchasing a machine; however, if you take good care of your aerator you will be able to use it for many years to come. Self-propelled aerators quickly put holes into the soil and remove balls of dirt.
Planter & Outdoor Furniture Protection
If you live in extremely cold conditions, now is the time to prepare for the changes in temperature. Plants that live in containers should be brought inside to help them survive throughout the winter months. Be sure to thoroughly wipe off your patio furniture, ceramic and terracotta pots, and store them in a dry place.
While the summer gardening season has come to an end, fall is proven to be an excellent time to plant in your garden - vegetable gardening too! In all honesty, fall is the better time to plant due to the cooler temperatures and warm soil. However, there are a few things to consider when planting during the fall months.
Be sure to ditch the fertilizer, your plants won’t need them as new growth can be harmed by the winter weather. It’s also an excellent idea to plant grass seed, but we recommend doing this as soon as possible to help the roots establish before the winter frost.
For your lawn care, replenish a few inches of mulch around your trees and shrubs to help retain soil moisture, prevent weed growth, and protect soil from erosion.
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