planting of a small evergreen in dirt

5 Steps to Better Fall Lawn Care

It appears cool weather may finally be here to stay after a hot, dry summer and early fall. Along with fall maintenance tasks such as swapping your screens for storm windows, reversing your ceiling fan, and cleaning rain gutters, you should prepare your home’s landscape for what’s coming.

No one wants to start the spring by replacing one of our beloved trees or shrubs that didn’t make it through the harsh winter. Remember a blizzard named Jonas dumping a few feet of snow in South Central PA and Central MD earlier this year?

The good news is there’s plenty you can do to help your landscape survive the fall and winter and thrive in the spring. Simply follow these simple fall lawn care tips to be well on your way to a happy and healthy landscape in 2017 (and beyond)!

  1. Planting. If you’re planning on adding some new trees or shrubs to your yard, now is the perfect time to start planting for next year. Not only will you save some money as local nurseries discount their remaining material to minimize inventory, but your plant will receive the benefits of building root mass in the cool, moist soil without the stress of drought, high temperatures, or sun scorch.

  1. Fertilizing. For the best fall lawn care, use a slow-release fertilizer to replace vital nutrients in the soil that are lost over the summer. This will help protect your plants from stressful weather, disease and insects. Don’t forget that plants still need water over the winter, so if there’s a dry spell and temperatures permit (the soil is cool but not frozen) make sure you give them a drink!
  2. Mulching. Replace any mulch that has broken down or blown away. This not only helps retain water, but it also acts as an insulator to protect against the extreme cold of winter. Younger trees or sensitive plantings are more susceptible to temperature changes and haven’t had time to establish a strong root base, so you’ll want to apply about 3-6 inches of mulch. Keep in mind that you should not pile mulch up against the trunk, but rather create a little basin. Wrap the tree or shrub in burlap to protect it from the harsh wind or salt from the roads.
  3. broken tree limbPruning. Have trees professionally evaluated and pruned before the winds, ice, and snow arrive. Broken, rotting, or dead branches need to be removed or thinned. These steps help relieve stress and provide the best growth opportunity come springtime.
  4. Removing. If you suspect some of your mature trees won’t make it through the winter, hire a professional to evaluate them. If there is risk of severe damage – such as a large tree falling on your house – scheduling a removal to can save you the inconvenience and cost of cleaning up after a storm.

Of course if you need any assistance with any of these fall lawn care tips, the team at Hively Landscapes is just a call or email away. Simply dial 717-292-5696 (toll free 800-292-5696) or email us at