With fall rapidly upon us it’s time to break out those rakes and leaf blowers once again. But even more importantly, there are a few additional fall yard maintenance tips you can use to keep your home or office looking it’s best now, and all year long.
Cover Plants to Prepare for Frost: Early fall frost can often sneak up on us and damage valuable landscaping. Potted plants, as well as those that are still actively in bloom, are most susceptible to damage from an early frost. A general purpose tarp will work in a pinch but ideally you want a material that’s breathable. Your best bet is to use a breathable fabric such as cotton or burlap. These fabrics keep warmth in while allowing moisture to pass in and out, instead of trapping it inside like plastic will do. When moisture gets trapped inside it can cause additional plant damage as temperatures drop even further and the moisture inside inevitably begins to freeze.
Get the Kids Involved by Making it Fun: The bigger your yard the more maintenance you’ll have to perform this fall. With that said, wouldn’t a few extra hands be a great? Why not enlist your children by making yard clean up fun rather than a chore.
A great way to do this is to use fun lawn clean up bags. Your children will love helping create stuffed pumpkins, ghosts, or any of the other fun shapes that bags come in today.
Just be sure to stay safe out there. We all know kids love jumping into a nice big leaf pile but we’ve also all heard horror stories of children getting injured when the leaves pile up by the street. Additionally, some of the lawn power equipment mentioned here is too dangerous for use by youngsters. Always supervise children closely and follow equipment safety instructions at all times.
Clean Your Gutters: All those leaves falling from the trees don’t just end up on your lawn, they also wind up in your gutters. Therefore, it’s an excellent idea to clean out your gutters in late fall to keep all those leaves from rotting away and clogging your gutters through the winter and spring.
If you’re cleaning your gutters by hand we recommend using a nice pair of protective gloves. Gutters can have sharp edges that lead to cuts and abrasions. It’s also a good idea to use a gutter scoop which is a tool that’s specifically designed to fit into a standard gutter.
It’s also an excellent idea to take this opportunity to install gutter screens which will help to keep leaves out of your gutters next year!
Feed Your Lawn: One of the best times to feed your lawn is in late fall, right before the first snow arrives. Lawn food contains the natural nutrients your lawn needs to thrive. By applying lawn food before the first snow, you can help to ensure that your lawn will stay healthy throughout the winter and will bounce back quickly in the spring.
We highly recommend Scotts line of Winterguard products because they have been proven to help your lawn build strong roots, a key to surviving the harsh winter. The manufacturer also tells us that fall is one of the best times to apply a weed control product to your lawn because it will help to fight weeds at the roots all winter long.
Trim Dead Branches That May Fall When Snow Arrives: Fall is also an important time to trim dead branches and remove any dead trees from your property. Heavy wet snow (usually seen in the early fall and late spring) can become hazardous to people and property because the added weight will snap branches and split dead trees.
Be proactive and remove any dead branches with a lopping shear, pruning saw, bow saw, or tree pruner. For trees or larger branches a chain saw will do the trick. Black & Decker even makes a powerful, yet highly portable 20 volt lithium battery powered chain saw for under $150.
Install Deer Netting and Fencing: When winter arrives deer and other wildlife travel into new areas to forage for available plant life. This makes your yard far more susceptible to deer damage than in warmer months. Protect your landscaping by covering your plants with a deer net, which can be far more economical (and easier to put up and take down) than a deer fencing. But if you experience heavier deer traffic it may be a better idea to simply enclose the area with a temporary deer fence. Doing so will help keep deer further away from your expensive hedges and other plants.
Store it All Away Neatly: Store rakes, shovels, weed trimmers, and other lawn tools and equipment away properly to keep them safe for next year. The leaves will be back next fall and no one likes having to replace missing or broken tools. A proper storage shed or garage equipped with tool racks will help to keep your lawn tools clean, organized, and safe for next year’s clean up.
Use these simple fall yard maintenance tips and in just a few hours you’ll have your yard ready to brave the cold winter months. For more information, check out this helpful video from the National Gardening Association: