As the heat of summer fades away, there is a lot to do to make your yard ready for months of cold temperatures. Autumn yard maintenance may seem strange considering everything will probably be covered in snow soon, but it’s extremely important if you don’t want your yard to look bad in the spring. Yard maintenance in the fall is all about the prevention of detrimental effects on your lawn, tools, and home. We’ve compiled some of the top tips for autumn yard maintenance so that you can hunker down for the winter, safe in knowing that your yard will return to its former glory.
Be Aware of Mowing Height
One of the most common things to do for your lawn in the summer is to raise the mowing height of your lawn mower. This allows the grass to stay long enough to protect the ground from harsh sunlight. However, in autumn, you’ll want to reduce the mowing height of your lawn mower to somewhere closer to the middle of your lawn mower’s settings. If the grass is too long, it will suffocate your lawn as it is pressed down by snow and ice. If it’s too short, you allow the opportunity for weeds to grow between the grass.
Keep Your Rake Handy
If you’ve never raked leaves from your lawn before, you should know that it’s done for more reasons than just to move dead leaves around. All of those leaves can choke out your lawn from getting the sunlight that it needs to survive. Leaves that are left to wet and soggy can also lead to fungi growing on your lawn. Raking also serves a second purpose—to remove thatch from below the grass. Thatch is a layer of dead foliage that covers the ground beneath your grass that can develop from overwatering or overfertilizing. Pulling up this thatch with a traditional rake, not a leaf blower, will help prevent disease and encroaching insect problems.
Continue Watering If Needed
The autumn brings colder temperatures and usually more rainfall than the summer, causing many people to think that they no longer need to water their lawns or plants. However, watering is still important in the fall, especially if you aren’t getting those all-important rainy days. You want your lawn to be getting about an inch of water per week; any less, and you’ll need to keep your sprinklers or hose on until, at most, mid-October.
Get Ahead of Winter Problems
Winter brings a lot of annoying problems with it if you really care about your lawn. Autumn is the perfect time to get ahead of these issues before you have to react to them in the freezing cold. Trimming any trees near your house is a good practice to take on in the fall, as the weight of snow is often what causes them to snap, possibly right on your home. Late autumn is also when you want to completely drain any outdoor faucets or water lines you may have outside. This is crucial to making sure that you don’t have to deal with a frozen or burst pipe at the worst time possible.
Aerate Your Lawn
Aerating your lawn is essential to keeping it healthy for the next year’s spring. It’s also a fairly simple procedure that you’ll be glad you took care of as early as possible. Aeration works by removing small cores of your lawn and redistributing them over the top level. This creates an environment for less thatch to develop, where water can reach the roots of your grass easier. Aerating your lawn also loosens up the soil, so it doesn’t become compacted. Compacted soil can lead to grass not being able to develop its roots properly and dying earlier than it should.
Follow Up With Fertilizing
Once your lawn is aerated, you’ve reached the perfect time to start fertilizing your lawn as well. If you have cool-season grasses, you’ll want to do this in the early portion of fall, after the heat dies down but before the cold starts to really set in. This is the period when your grass can make the most out of any fertilizer you put down over it. Keep that lawn fresh and ready to bounce back as soon as spring starts back up.
If you have more than just your lawn, say a fruit and vegetable garden, there are a few more things you can do to make sure it’s safe for the winter. You’ll first want to remove any excess plant matter to be composted; leaving it to rot invites all sorts of bugs and diseases to spread. Consider renting one of our 10 cubic yard dumpsters if your garden is quite large. You’ll also need to decide if you want to rototill your garden, which can have positive effects come spring. Finally, you’ll need to protect the layer of topsoil in your garden. The best way to do this is to use mulch, which can be easily made from all the dead leaves you are raking or shredding with your lawn mower.
Shrub and Tree Maintenance
If you have evergreen shrubs or bushes as part of your yard, they will need to be taken care of as well. These shrubs often have a hard time pulling moisture from the earth when everything is frozen, so make sure you do one last deep watering of their roots before the ground completely freezes over. This goes for trees as well. A good rule of thumb is to deeply water the base all the way out to where the canopy ends to make sure all parts of the root structure receive water.
These tips for autumn yard maintenance will keep your lawn and your yard safe for the winter and ready to return come spring. Although it takes some extra maintenance, you can’t discount the appeal of a yard that’s well taken care of. Vine Disposal is here to help you make that essential transition to the colder months. Whether you are doing garden work or heavy landscaping, Vine Disposal wants to be the first place you turn to when you need to rid yourself of excess yard material.