Fall and winter isn’t the favorite time of year for the lawn keeper. It’s a time that needs a little more work than a lot of us would like, particularly as the reward for putting in the work is still months away. However, this prep work still must be done. So what are some of the most important preparations to make during fall and winter?
Picking up and disposing of debris that has accumulated over the summer and early fall is fairly important at this time of year. Summer storms have knocked down tree branches, thrown leaves around, and spread nuts and berries that can later sprout into trees if not taken care of early. Cleaning this debris up before it becomes and even-bigger problem is very important.
Clean Up Perennials
Perennials will often have some die-off, but much of this growth will stay put. You will need to clear out the garden beds by hand to help prep them for new growth in the spring. Failing to cut back dead growth can lead to failure when flowering time comes around next year.
Cut Your Lawn a Little Lower
We usually tell you to keep your lawn a little on the long side, to keep it healthy an to help push out weeds. However, if this winter is anything like the last, we could see some heavy snowfalls. Accordingly, folks have seen more instances of mold – caused by moisture being trapped in matted-down grass and leaves under snow. By trimming the grass slightly shorter – set down to 2 inches or so, instead of the usual 3-4 inches – you can prevent the grass from getting matted down.
Attack the Weeds
With grass being dormant during the hottest months of summer, weeds have gotten a chance to make gains in your lawn and garden. You’ll need to prep your lawn for winter by removing these weeds straight away. Particularly broadleaf weeds, such as the common dandelion, can make themselves at home in the lawn. Make sure to get these weeds down to the root system for a thorough removal.
You can also consider selective herbicides for removing plants. Make sure to get the selective types, not the blanket chemicals that will kill off anything green, whether you want it to or not.
De-Thatch and Aerate
Just like we recommend in the spring time, your lawn can use a good de-thatching and aerating in the fall as well. A simple good, hard raking that pulls up thatch along with a few minutes of aeration by cutting out plug can be good enough for fall prep.
Once trees and bushes have dropped their leaves, you can prune back the empty branches, thanks to being able to see your plants a bit better. Take notice to what trees need pruned, and mark the branches. The best time to prune is after the hard winter, and before spring starts. This puts less stress on the tree.
Fall and winter landscape prep is necessary, and best of all, it’s not all that difficult or time-consuming. You might have to wait a few months to see the result of fall prep but you will definitely see those results.