A lot of people would think of spring and summer as the best time to do landscaping maintenance. The truth is, the Fall is a significant time to preserve yards and plants from the colder months that are ahead of us. Particularly in cold climates, trees, grass, and plants can benefit from additional care before the drop in temperature to guarantee they will survive the winter and flourish again during the spring. Here are some ways to boost the look and health of your lawn so it’s ready for Fall:
Fall is the right time to plant flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips and perennials, trees, and shrubs. The warm soil is excellent for root development, and plants have several months to establish themselves before the stress of summer heat takes over.
Rake and remove leaves to dodge any grass damage
This can protect water quality, and then in winter, freezing and thawing can generate leaves, dead grass, plants, and organic debris to release soluble phosphate forms (and nitrates). If chemicals run off the frozen ground during spring, with melting snow and early spring rains, they can surface water.
Apply 2-3 inches of mulch
Installing mulch in the fall helps preserve plant roots from cold temperatures in the winter months and helps maintain moisture if the area does not get enough precipitation.
Wrap plants and small trees
Sub-freezing temperatures can damage many types of plants such as roses, butterfly bushes, hydrangeas, and crape myrtles. To give plants some extra protection from the wind and cold, cover them in burlap or a frost protection fabric and plant them with a structure or fence that protects from wind. You want them to be able to safely make it out of the cold seasons.
Fertilize your lawn in early fall
Find a fertilizer with a formula created to meet your lawn’s needs and follow the product’s instructions. The numbers on a fertilizer bag display the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, respectively, on a weight basis. If you aren’t positive about your lawn needs, discuss with a lawn care or landscape professional. A soil test can decide what ratio is the best option for your lawn. You can also check with your local agricultural extension office, as some locations monitor the time of year that fertilizer can be used to decrease runoff.
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