Alexander Graham Bell said it best when he declared “before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” If you want to enjoy a vibrant garden year-round, now is the perfect time to begin preparation for the potentially unforgiving fall and winter months. A fall maintenance checklist is critical to success and will help you hit the ground running in the spring when you begin to dig out from the winter lull.
At Hively Landscapes we would like to help you get your landscape ready, and have compiled a list of some of our favorite fall landscaping tips to share with you. These are just some tips to help you achieve the successful landscape you will enjoy for years to come.
- Take Care of Your Lawn – One of the best things you can do for your lawn is aeration. Aerating pulls thousands of small cores out of the ground. This allows both oxygen and water to reach the root system of your turf. This encourages a deeper and stronger root system that better resists the hot dry summer months in our area. Aeration is best done by a professional with the proper tools, though this equipment is available for rent at most tool rental stores. Give your grass a high-phosphorus fall fertilizer mix to encourage root growth, and be sure to keep after any leaves that drop as these can cause dead spots and prevent fertilizers from reaching the ground. **BONUS** Add the collected leaves to a compost pile and then mix up the pile every week or so to aerate. You can then use this leaf compost in the spring to nourish your trees, shrubs, and even your lawn!
- Fall is Great for Planting – If you’d like to make additions to your landscape the fall is a wonderful time. Planting in the fall will allow your new plants time to establish roots in the cooler, moist soil, and will also give them a head start over next year’s growing season.
- Get the Pruners out – Before the snow and ice accumulates or the winter winds start to blow, use pruners to lightly trim any branches t hat are dead, dying, or diseased. This protects the plant as well as your home from the damage caused by falling branches. Cut back any perennials to the ground, pull out the annuals, and deadhead any spent blooms. Be sure not to cut more than just the dead bloom off as some plants like certain varieties of hydrangeas bloom off of old wood.
- Mulch – Anywhere there are trees and shrubs planted should also have a 2-3 inch layer of mulch. This will help protect the roots from frost and can be critical for new and sensitive plantings to make it through a harsh winter. Always be careful to avoid piling mulch up against the trunk of a tree or shrub.
- Protect Delicate Trees & Shrubs – You’ve probably seen or experienced sensitive plantings that haven’t made it through one of our frigid winters. By taking a few simple precautions you can help these plants make it through the winter unharmed. For smaller plants you can hide them under plastic pots or buckets, and the larger trees and shrubs can be wrapped in burlap. In addition to a 2-3 inch layer of mulch, consider also adding shredded leaves to the area around the trunk of vulnerable trees for extra protection.
If you need any help with any of our fall landscape maintenance tips or you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and give us a call through the number above. We look forward to seeing your landscape flourish just as well next year!