You might have had an exceptional year when it comes to your landscape. Things may have blossomed, your colors were vibrant, and you got amazing compliments. While you are eager to have a repeat performance next year, the fall and winter months are not the time to ignore your lawn responsibilities. In fact, you can damage all that hard work with a few over-eager or uninformed activities. When it comes to doing the right things for lawn and landscape this fall, follow this list of don’ts!
You may be tempted to give your lawn one final cut, keeping it low and neat for the coming months. Unfortunately, you are going to have to stash your mower and let it be. Grass will go dormant during the fall and winter, and it won’t begin to grow again until warm weather is back to stay. Cutting it too short is like leaving it out in the cold without a sweater. You can cause damage and create unhealthy grass later.
While grass takes the winter months off, you would be surprised how active weeds can be. Winter is actually the germination period for weeds. Dandelions, thistles, and cloves can spread quickly, stealing the sunlight, space, and nutrients your grass needs to thrive. Keep an eye out for weed growth and remove them when the ground is soft or moist. Pulling them up in frost or snow might not get the entire root.
Although the frost and snow are coming, there is usually time to continue watering as normal until your area reaches freezing temperatures. Hedges, fruit trees and shrubs rely heavily on water during the fall, as they are storing up the supply they need as they go dormant. Without enough water, you may stunt their recovery.
Fall brings such pretty colors to the trees, but then there is seriously grumbling when all those leaves fall to the ground. Raking is such a tiresome job, but if you let leaves cover your lawn, you set up a breeding ground for mold and fungus once the snow falls.
If it is still warm, you should apply fertilizer to your lawn as it prepares for its next life cycle. If you use granules, you may find it tends to sit on the yard for months because the dry conditions keep it from dissolving. This could learn to a burnt lawn later. Choose a spray instead for best results. Be sure to aerate the lawn prior to spraying to allow room for good absorption.
Many people think the optimum time for new planting is in the spring. Slight disclaimer- fall is the best time to put in bulbs for lilies, tulips or garden “roots” that take a while to mature before harvest. It’s also not a bad time to plant new shrubs or trees.
Even if you had a banner year for your lawn, you may have noticed certain fungus or insect problems. If there was any damage, take a picture and start your research on how to be proactive the next year. Talk to your local nursery for advice.
If the ground hasn’t frozen, you should apply another layer of mulch to help insulate your landscape.
You might not really have a choice on this one, but if possible, give your lawn a break this winter. As you step on dormant grass, you damage the stem where the grass actually grows. Foot traffic can also create bald spots, which will be tough to overcome in the spring.
With these tips in mind, you can know just what to do for your lawn this winter. You can protect the efforts you’ve given it over the spring and summer, and you can invest in a new year of growth and great appearance.