Summer is winding down and the kids go back to school, homeowners should now focus on preparing for the cold months ahead. Begin preparing for next spring by following these simple tips to clean up and prepare for a lawn winter. To make fall cleanup work as fast and easy as possible, it can be helpful to break the work down into the different areas of your garden. The areas that most commonly need attention are trees and shrubs, the lawn, and vegetable or flower gardens.
Lawns will need several kinds of care during the fall months. First, you’ll want to rake up all the fallen leaves and any other debris from shrub and tree trimming. There are many types of leaf bagging devices on the market today that can make this job easier, such as leaf bag holders or special tarps designed to collect leaves and other debris while you are raking. Once all the leaves are removed, it’s important to do one final mowing of the grass at the end of the year.
The last area that will require some fall attention is your garden and planting areas. Your work here will vary depending on what types of plants you’re working with. In the case of annuals, especially annual vegetable plants, it’s best to remove the plants entirely at the end of the growing season. Some vegetables like tomatoes and potatoes, if left to rot in the cool fall weather, can transmit fungal diseases into the soil. These pests and fungi are often times capable of overwintering in the dirt, and can then cause problems with next year’s crops. Once annual plants are removed, now is a good time to till the soil and add any fertilizers such as organic matter or other soil amendments. Finish the area off by adding a thick layer of mulch.
Trees and shrubs often need to be trimmed back in the fall, though this will vary, depending on the type of plant. If you’re unsure when to trim your trees or bushes, consult a gardening book or online resource. When doing any kind of trimming or pruning, basic safety precautions are of primary importance. If your trees are taller than 10 or 15 feet, it’s best not to take the risk of doing the job yourself. Look for a qualified arborist who can do the work for you, and be sure to check out some references before hiring anyone to do the work. This can also be a good time to remove any old or dying trees, as well.
Here you can check a fall garden clean up list:
1. Add leaves and grass clippings to your compost pile.
2. Dig and harvest all vegetables before frost. Place green tomatoes on shelves in a cool area so they can ripen slowly. Parsnips, turnips, and carrots may be left in the ground. Some gardeners say this improves their flavor.
3. Mulch strawberry beds, roses, tender perennials, and plants with peat moss or straw to help prevent winter damage.
4. Do an over seeding where lawns are sparse. Fall is nature’s seeding time so a little help now will help eliminate bare or thin spots later.
5. Apply wilt-proof sprays to tender, broad-leaved evergreens to help reduce the drying effects of winter winds, especially on newly-planted shrubs.
6. Stake any newly-planted trees to help them get through their first winter.
7. If bagworms or late insects attack, physically remove and destroy them. Check trees and shrubs for scales and other pests. If you find any, plan an early dormant oil spray before flowers or leaves appear on fruit trees.
8. Pull up annuals and prune perennials as a good cleanup practice.
9. Begin fertilizing plan for houseplants. As home heat goes on, it stimulates plant growth which means you will need to pay more attention to fertilizing and watering.
10. Do final mowing raking and make notes of lawn care projects for the spring.
11. If you have wet spring weather, plan to dig or till your vegetables garden in the fall so you can get an early start next spring.
12. Remove old fruiting canes of berry bushes. Prune grape and blueberries.