Fall…time for snuggling inside, cozy fires, and outdoor chore amnesia, right? Well yes, but not you’re not quite there yet. Fall is also prime time to prep for a spectacular growing season next year. So while you won’t get instant gratification from some of these chores, they are oh so important for next spring and summer.
- Your Lawn. Your lawn has to make it through the hard New England winters so a little extra help is necessary for a lush green lawn next spring. It’s usually a good idea to aerate your lawn to keep compaction to a minimum. A good way to tell you need to aerate is if rainfall is pooling on the grass. Water and nutrients will reach the roots better after a good aeration and you can leave the plugs to breakdown until next spring. Feed your grass. One last fertilizing application is a good idea up until a hard freeze. A high phosphorus mix will encourage root growth for a greener lawn next year. It’s also a good time to throw down some lime. Final mow. Time to put those mowers away! Cut your grass shorter than you normally do. Disease and snow rot have a harder time with shorter blades and it’ll make it easier for leaves and debris to blow across and not get stuck
- Leaf Clean Up: no one likes this chore (except my husband. I swear he’s the only human to actually like blowing leaves. Maybe all his high powered equipment has something to do with it!) It’s important to remove leaves from the grassy areas of your yard. If left, they’ll cause dead spots in your lawn. They invite pests and disease and block your lawn from getting the nutrients it needs. So get those rakes ready!
- Pruning. Now is not the time to shape or cut back your trees and shrubs. They will be susceptible to disease through the winter. Instead, simply prune out any dead or diseased limbs to lessen snow damage to the plant. Cut them close to the trunk, but not flush with it
- Cut down all perennials. I know it’s tempting to cut unsightly spent perennials during the growing season, but I recommend waiting until now. If you cut them back too early, when the foliage is still green, they won’t collect as many beneficial rays from the sun to encourage strong growth for next year. I like to use the 1/5 rule. Cut all flowers, grasses, etc down to about one fifth of their growth that year. This will ensure you don’t go too short and harm them
- Don’t forget to winterize irrigation systems! You don’t want to deal with cracked pipes come spring.
- Think ahead to the holidays. Arrange your pots and window boxes with evergreens now. I do this for two reasons, not because I’m a holiday freak. The first is because I don’t want to be out collecting and arranging spruce and pine greens when its -10 degrees and I can’t feel my fingers. The second is because thin little sprigs of evergreen and frozen solid soil typically don’t mix. Have you ever tried to arrange your greens in frozen dirt? Let’s just say it’s not a good thing for my holiday spirit.
So there you have it. Now get out there and get these yards ready for winter so you can start your hibernation period and binge watch your favorite shows and not think about yardwork until April when we thaw out….OR you could call us and start your hibernation early
Happy Gardening Friends!