Do you need some motivation to perform fall garden care? Well, just think of all the joy your planting beds provided you during the spring and summer. Don’t you want more of the same next year? Assuming you do, there are tasks you can undertake in autumn to help your landscape get off to a good start once the warm weather returns.
But there’s more than the garden to think about. There are a number of serious lawn care chores and related tasks for the landscaper to complete to winterize the yard in fall and ready the landscape for the next growing season.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the chores you should be performing in autumn, from lawn works to winterizing trees and shrubs and taking care of your equipment.
Essential Autumn Lawn Care
During autumn, don’t stop trying to improve the health of your grass for next year — or at least trying to maintain the status quo. For one thing, you’ll want to try to remove broadleaf weeds and thereby remove some competition for available nutrients and water. Along the same lines, have a soil test done to check, for example, on the soil pH of your lawn. If the test should show excessive acidity, apply lime immediately (its effects don’t kick in right away). If, on the contrary, your soil is too alkaline, apply sulphur or contact with your local Louisville Lawn Care.
Everybody knows that we should rake leaves in fall as part of the winterizing process for lawns, but many don’t know exactly why we rake leaves. But anyone who has ever raked them knows that it’s tedious work.
Some people choose to use leaf blowers, instead. Here’s another option: before putting your lawn mower to bed for another winter, fire it up (making sure the grass catcher is attached) and run over the leaves with it. Sort of like “vacuuming” the leaves off your lawn. When you’re done, be sure to provide the proper lawn mower care to winterize it.
Many people who have lawn problems do not realize how detrimental thatch build-up is to their grass. An advantage to raking leaves (as opposed to resorting to gadgetry) is that you can dethatch your lawn at the same time: a vigorous raking will extricate some of the thatch that may be plaguing your lawn. But for cases of severe soil compaction, you’ll probably have to use the technique known as core aeration.
Overseeing Lawns in the Fall
Then there’s the matter of overseeing. Consult the general guidelines offered in the following resources:
- Overseeing Lawns With Cool-Season Grasses
- Overseeing Lawns With Warm-Season Grasses
Note: You should already have applied fertilizer lightly to cool season grasses in late summer / early fall (the “bridge feeding”). Since these grasses are most active during periods of moderate weather (not too hot, not too cold), it is precisely at this time that they can best use the nutrients provided by a fertilizer. Fertilization promotes root growth and helps the lawn recover from the summer heat, while preparing it for the next growing season.
Such fertilizers are designed to help you winterize lawns.
Fall Garden Care: Winterizing Garden Beds and Vegetable Beds
After harvesting your fruits and flowers, fall Lawn Care Jeffersontown should ascend to the top of your agenda. Remove old plant matter from the garden, placing it in your compost bin. Leaving it behind in the garden would invite plant diseases next growing season.
Some people choose to rototill their garden soil at this time, although some experts say that excessive rototilling may do more harm than good. But some people rely on small garden tillers to keep down weeds in vegetable gardens. Rototilling in fall may seem premature; but it will make your spring gardening work go much easier. Drain the old gas out of the rototiller afterwards.
If you are going to rototill the garden, this is the time to apply lime (if soil tests have indicated that your pH is too low).
The effects of liming don’t manifest themselves for several months, so liming in the spring is too late for next year’s crop.
You’ll also need to protect your topsoil from the rigors of winter. You have two options here: You can plant a cover crop for large beds or you can apply a mulch. Mulching is more efficient for smaller beds. And landscapers have a ready source of mulch in the leaves that they rake.
Perennial garden beds ideally should be cleaned up and mulched as part of your work in fall gardens. Remove old stalks and leaves — you’ll have to do so in the spring anyways, so you might as well be a step ahead. But if, for whatever reason, you are not able to mulch your perennial beds in the fall, then do not clean away the old stalks and leaves either — they will serve as a makeshift mulch, affording some small degree of protection to the roots of your perennials. In other words, the cleaning and the mulching go together: either do both or neither one. But it is best to do both, in order to keep your garden disease-free and well insulated.
Some garden experts like Landscaping Iroquois recommend spreading compost on the soil as well at this time. I personally disagree with this strategy, feeling that it is a waste of compost. I recommend keeping your compost protected in a compost bin during the winter, waiting until planting season to spread it in the garden.
Winterizing Trees and Shrubs
Winterize small deciduous shrubs that have fragile branches with a lean-to or some other sort of structure to keep heavy snows off their limbs. Deciduous shrubs provide no interest in winter anyways, so you are not losing anything visually by covering them. Evergreens, by contrast, are the cornerstone of winter landscaping aesthetics.
To a great degree winterizing trees and larger shrubs can be achieved simply by watering them properly in the fall, since the winter damage that they sustain often stems from their inability to draw water from the frozen earth. “Avoid watering trees in late summer or early fall before the leaves fall so they can ‘harden off’ for winter,” states Sherry Lajeunesse, in a Montana State University Extension article.
“Then in late fall, after deciduous trees drop their leaves but before the ground freezes, give both evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs a final deep watering to last them through the winter.” The same source also reminds us to “water under the entire canopy area and beyond,” to cover the entire root area.
Prepare Your Tools for Winter
While caring for the living areas of your yard will take up most of your time and energy, your tools deserve some attention too. Proper storage and maintenance of your gear will help get your spring gardening get off to a great start.
Bring in the garden hose and go down into the basement to turn off its water source in the fall. You don’t want those pipes bursting when the temperatures fall into the teens, do you?
With winter approaching, your “pampered beasts” are no longer going to be the lawn mower and rototiller. The snowblower is again ready to assume that honor. Snow is as much a reality of the northern landscape in winter as grass is in summer. Pamper your snowblower accordingly! Make sure you change the oil, install a new spark plug, inspect belts for wear and replace if necessary, lube the drive and chasis and fill with fresh, clean gasoline
And what maintenance should you perform on your lawn mower before storing it away? Drain out the gas in late fall. You’ll be glad that you did, next spring, when you go to start up the lawn mower again. Letting the old gas sit around in the lawn mower all winter and get gummy is not conducive to having easy lawn mower maintenance next spring, when you begin mowing again — the lawn mower won’t start up easily.
How to Winterize Your Compost Bin
Winterizing your compost bin. You have worked hard all spring, summer and fall building up your compost pile and mixing it to achieve optimal decomposition. Don’t let any of your work go to waste! You don’t want precious nutrients eroding away or being swept off by wintery gusts and feel free to contact with your local lawn professionals and if you are in Lexington so Lawn Maintenance Louisville will be your best choice. If your compost bin has no cover, then cover it with a tarp in the fall. To insulate it from winter freezing so as to hasten its usability in spring, apply a layer of raked leaves on top and all around the perimeter (bagging the leaves if necessary to hold them in place).
While we’ve covered such tasks as winterizing lawns, trees and shrubs and other miscellaneous tasks, you may have specific features on your landscape that will require additional attention in the autumn. For instance, owners of in-ground swimming pools or elaborate water gardens will have to engage in winterizing tasks specific to these features. Always follow manufacturers’ recommendations.
Before we get started, there is another excellent article in our archives on preparing your lawn and landscape for the chilly seasons. “Lawn Care Charlestown Tips” includes practical advice such as making sure the leaves are all raked up and the need for late fall lawn service and fertilization.
Pre-Winter Lawn Mowing
The most important tip is the need to mow your lawn short for the winter, especially in the northern areas of the country. If the grass is left too long, it will lay over on itself from the pressure of the snow cover. Air circulation around the plant is reduced, and Snow Mold, a destructive early spring lawn disease, can become a problem in your lawn. It can cause large areas of grass to die, or at least weaken in vigor.
Spring green-up and grass growing may also be slow. Often the grass blades will turn brown during the winter. This is a normal response to the cold weather of winter. The grass plant will need to grow an entirely new plant, from the crown up, the next spring. If there is a lot of brown grass left from the previous year, it will take a long time for the old plants to fall away and allow the new plants to show through and make the Lawn Care Fern Creek green again.
Other Winter Lawn Maintenance Tips
There are several other late fall, early winter jobs that need attention. If you have any perennial plants that have gone dormant, cut back the brown tops. If the tops are still green, wait until they turn yellow or brown before cutting. There is still energy being transferred to the root system from the top growth. Depending upon the amount of snow cover your area receives, you may have to wait until spring to complete this yard care task.
Lawn Furniture Tips
Outdoor furniture should be covered or brought indoors. Clay pots and other outdoor statuary should be brought indoors to keep from breaking. Alternating freezing and thawing of these items could cause them to crack. If they are too large to move, cover them with a plastic tarp.
Winter Mower Maintenance
Your Lawn Care Buechel Terrace needs attention at the end of the mowing season. Drain the gas tank or add a few drops of a stabilizing agent to the tank to keep the gas from getting ‘old’. It is also a good time to change the oil, clean the underside of the deck, sharpen the blade, and replace the spark plug and air cleaner. Be sure to disconnect the spark plug wire before attempting any repair on your mower, regardless of the time of year the maintenance or repair work is performed. Check out more tips to winterize your lawn, landscape and equipment.
If you are in an area that receives significant snow fall, many of your plants could be damaged from excess accumulation of snow on the branches. This is especially true of evergreen trees, such as Arbor Vitae. Carefully and gently, brush the snow in an upward direction off the limbs and boughs. If they become coated with ice, leave them alone. Trying to break off the ice could damage the tree or shrub, and won’t help much with your tree maintenance. The ice normally melts at a rapid pace, even if the temperatures are below freezing.
Finally, put out a bird feeder or two for our feathered friends. There are many birdseed mixes available, so choose one that will attract the varieties of birds that are most common for your area. Just remember that your local Lawn Care Jeffersonville experts alwasys ready to help you.
The mild winters of US make it easy to slip into football season and holiday planning without realizing cool weather and unexpected cold snaps are on the way.
While your lawn doesn’t need to be prepped like regions that experience months of snow or freezing temperatures, cooler weather does affect the grass in the Pensacola area.
In fact, your lawn works will go dormant like a hibernating bear for many months as cooler air approaches.
When your lawn awakes from its winter slumber, you’ll want it to blossofertm so you can enjoy the spring season too. One of the best ways to bring lush and green grass back from winter dormancy is to protect it before cool weather hits. The following winter lawn care tips will help protect your grass as the seasons change.
Mow more precisely
There is a fine line between mowing too much and too little when cool weather approaches. On one hand, you need to keep your grass clean and groomed to prevent it from turning into a nesting ground for pests. However, mowing grass that has gone dormant for the winter can shock turf and cause damage.
To protect your grass before cold weather sets in, begin lowering the deck of your lawn mower to gradually cut your grass shorter. Aim to get the length of your grass blades between 2 and 3 inches as the weather gets cooler, which is typically around October in Columbia SC. Consistent cutting will reduce the chance of grass being shocked by a last minute cut right before an unexpected cold snap to do the landscaping.
If you regularly mow and keep your grass short before cold weather approaches, you’ll be more aware of it entering the dormant stage. Signs of dormancy include slower growth and blades beginning to turn brown depending on your turf. This typically happens around November in the Pensacola area and marks the time to stop mowing your grass. At this point, it’s time to take a break from mowing and spend that extra time enjoying pumpkin patches and fall festivities.
Fertilize before the first freeze
The healthiest lawns are fertilized on a schedule throughout the year. Whether or not you’ve been consistent year-round, fertilizing before cold weather sets in is a great way to protect your grass. Fertilizing in the fall helps replace nutrients likely depleted during the heat of Columbia’s summer months. Once the weather turns cold, the soil will continue to absorb the fertilizer. It’s like giving your grass a slow release multi-vitamin to absorb for many months.
However, some fertilizer treatments include large amounts of nitrogen, which can have an adverse effect on grass if they are applied too often or in application volumes that are too high. If you notice brown patches on your grass, you might be faced with a battle against lawn fungus, which is important to address before the winter months.
Here is a complete list suggested by the Louisville Lawn Care of soil treatments to consider before cold weather sets in.
Water with care
As temperatures drop, so should the frequency of watering your grass. Soil can typically retain more moisture in cooler weather without the hot summer sun absorbing it as quickly. Too much saturation can also encourage fungal growth, which make your lawn more at risk for Large Patch or other diseases.
Keep in mind that the first few months of fall are often prime time for tropical storms in Columbia SC. While we don’t suggest waiting for one to arrive in lieu of watering your grass, we do recommend holding off on additional watering if the rainy season is higher than usual. You may not need to water much at all if the Columbia area receives a lot of rain leading up to the arrival of cooler weather.
For more tips on getting your grass ready for cool weather and keeping it healthy throughout the year, check out our guide on Caring for Lawn Care Jeffersontown.
Lawn care is not as simple as a four step program. One person’s lawn is not the same as the next. Soil conditions, weather, geographical location, orientation to the sun, budget, usage, previous history – there are plenty of factors that can alter a lawn care program and one lawn should never be treated exactly the same as the next. People love things to be easy though, so a four step program is an ideal marketing tool for lawn care made easy.
Of course, it is not that easy but in the spirit of other Louisville Lawn Care programs, here is a four-step lawn care program. (spoiler – it’s a little more involved than four steps!)
1 . Watering – According to the Landscaping Fern Creek, providing adequate moisture is a key component to a healthy lawn but time and time again, overwatering is more of a problem than not having enough water. Sprinkler systems should only be used to provide supplemental water, not as the main source of water for the lawn. A healthy lawn planted with the appropriate grass species and properly maintained will need far less water than commonly thought. In the northeast, I often don’t water any turf until June and even then it is rare. The trick is to build the strongest, deepest root zone possible so grass can withstand periods of drought, only turning the water on when it is absolutely necessary.
2 . Fertilization – Timing is key when it comes to fertilizing the lawn.
The lawn should be allowed to “wake up” on it’s own a little before going out there first thing in the spring and fertilizing. Similarly, the grass should be allowed to harden off on its own in the winter. Improper timing in the fall could result in excessive top growth while the focus should be on root zone development.
Lawn Care Jeffersonville has mentioned many time that as important as timing is the fertilizer type whether it’s an organic fertilizer derived from bone meal and fish emulsion or water-soluble synthetic fertilizer designed to release slowly over the course of several weeks. Fertilizers higher in nitrogen are used at the outset of the growing season to encourage top growth and fertilizer with less nitrogen and a little more potassium are best for the fall to build the root system of the lawn. A renewed root zone allows for a strong spring start up and the whole process is repeated.
3 . – Choosing the appropriate grass for your lawns is important to the entire lawn care program. The standard Kentucky bluegrass lawn has a nice color and is dense and lush but it requires more inputs than fescues especially newer cultivars bred for drought tolerance and disease resistance. A Kentucky bluegrass lawn requires more water, fertilizer, and mowing than other lawns, while new varieties of turf-type tall fescues are proving to be excellent low maintenance alternatives. Also be sure to plant the appropriate species for your geographic location, climate, and relative position to sun and shade.
4 . Pests and Weeds – Weeds and pests can be a problem but generally only when a lawn is stressed out and not maintained properly.
Weeds and pests are opportunists and will invade bare or thinning turf as lawns with poor soil conditions. Through a basic IPM program, use the presence of weeds and pests as a signal that there may be a deeper problem in the lawn. Have your soil tested to ensure proper pH and adequate nutrient levels. Improving the condition of the soil and many weed and pest problems will disappear.
Can a lawn program really be as easy as four steps? Of course not, within each of my steps there are many other factors and practices that go into growing a healthy lawn so I will suggest you to contact with your local Lawn Care Buechel Terrace to deal with your problems professionally. Start with the soil, have it tested, and be wary of quick and easy solutions that seem too good to be true.
Remember when you last ordered a soil test for the lawn? If it showed that organic matter was low or medium (less than four to five percent), your lawn’s future may be less than optimal. Healthy lawn soil has between five to eight percent organic matter.
Compost applications can improve the level of organic matter in soil. The usual recommendation is to apply one-half inch. (Want to know how many yards of compost you need?
Compost can be applied spring or fall, but fall is usually the best time for the lawn care. Here are five reasons why:
- Fall and winter weather work the compost into soil passively, especially in rainy or snowy climates. It’s less work for you and less soil disturbance. If you recently aerated the lawn works (another good fall practice), compost is absorbed faster. Many turf pros aerate after applying compost.
- Fall compost applications help decompose thatch, the dead grass roots that accumulate on the soil surface during the growing season.
- Compost provides food for beneficial soil microbes that may remain active well past the apparent end of the growing season. Fall-applied compost also nourishes soil microbes in early spring as they become active.
- Fall-applied compost can help overcome soil compaction, one of the top deterrents to a successful lawn. How do you know if soil is compacted? If you can’t sink a shovel deeper than three inches, the soil is likely to be too dense for healthy lawn growth. If water puddles in a section, the soil is probably compact.
Spring-applied compost has some drawbacks. One is that it can be an invitation for grubs. Because the freshly placed compost is likely to hold moisture, it can attract female beetles during the egg-laying period. Female beetles, particularly Louisville Landscaping beetles, prefer to lay eggs on moist areas.
How to Buy Compost
- If you are making a bulk purchase from a local Louisville Lawn Care provider, you might look for one who uses the US Composting Council’s Seal of Testing Assurance (STA).
- Learn more about the how to buy good compost at USCC’s Buy Compost. Find a list of STA participants by state.
- Use finished compost that has been properly heated and turned for a sufficient period of time. Avoid compost that uses old building materials.
- If any of the compost inputs are animal-derived, such as manure, blood meal, bone meal or feathers, the compost should be sufficiently aged. In organic farming, the recommendation is usually six months or more.
- Municipal sewage compost, while widely available, is not considered compatible with organic land care and food production standards.
Test Compost for Finish
If you are making your own compost, here are two D-I-Y tests for finish:
- Put three cups of compost in a sealed plastic bag. Let it stand overnight at room temperature. If the bag has expanded when you check in the morning, the compost is unfinished. Turn the pile and test again in a few weeks.
- Here’s another test for finish: Fill a planting pot with the compost and try to germinate watercress seeds. If there is no germination or the seedlings are very weak, the compost needs further work.
Test Compost for Herbicides
According to the Louisville Lawn Care Compost from grass clippings or cow manure can have persistent herbicides.
Most professionals test for this, but here’s a D-I-Y test for persistent herbicides in compost:
- Fill a pot with the compost. Add seeds of red clover (Trifolium pratense) or use regular garden beans. Failure to grow is a good indicator of persistent herbicides.
The fall season is a great time to improve lawn soil by applying compost.
Among Louisville Lawn Care, it’s a well-known fact that the best way to ensure a thick, green, and healthy lawn in the spring is to give it some well-timed care in the fall—in other words, right now. But according to Lawn Works LLC, a lawn care company with more than 200 franchises around the country, many homeowners make the same basic mistakes before grass goes dormant, and then wonder why their grass isn’t doing better the following year. Wonder no more. Here are seven-step program to getting a beautiful lawn next year.
1. Remove the leaves.
A carpet of colorful autumn leaves may look nice and be fun to play in, but they’re no good for grass. They block the light and trap moisture, potentially fatal knockout punches for the unlucky turf underneath. So when the leaves are falling, blow or rake them away as often as you can. Even after the trees are bare, continue raking out the corners where the wind piles leaves up. If you don’t, come spring the grass under that soggy, decaying mat will be dead.
2. Keep cutting, but to the correct height.
Don’t put that mower away yet. Grass continues to grown up to the first hard frost, and so will need regular cuts to keep it at an ideal 2½- to 3-inch height. If you let it get too long, it will mat and be vulnerable to fungi like snow mold. Cutting grass too short is just as bad, because it curtails the root system—root depth is proportional to cutting height—and impedes the lawn’s ability to withstand winter cold and dryness. Regular mowing also gets rid of those pesky leaves, chopping them up and leaving behind a soil-enhancing mulch.
3. Continue watering.
Professionals of Landscaping Clarksville, say that people tend to let up on watering in the fall as the weather gets cooler. “They figure that nature will take care of things for them,” he says. While it’s true that there’s more rain, more dew, and less evaporation at this time of year, that may not be enough to keep the grass roots well hydrated and healthy going into the winter. If your lawn isn’t getting at least an inch of water a week—a simple rain gauge is a useful way to keep track—then keep the sprinklers or irrigation system running until the end of October. By that time, you’ll want to disconnect hoses and flush the irrigation system to avoid frozen pipes and spigots.
4. Loosen the soil.
Regular aeration—once every couple of years, according to We—prevents soil from becoming compacted and covered with thatch, a thick layer of roots, stems, and debris that blocks water, oxygen, and nutrients from reaching the soil. A core aerator corrects both problems by punching holes through that thatch and pulling up plugs of soil. It’s a good idea to aerate a lawn right before fertilizing. All those holes in your turf will let the fertilizer reach right to the roots, where it can do the most good.
5. Add fertilizer.
Just as grass roots need water to last the winter, they also benefit from a shot of the plant sugars that protect roots from freezing and give the entire plant the energy to bounce back in the spring. Those sugars are produced by chlorophyll, which grass produces in abundance when there’s enough nitrogen. That’s why Landscaping Charlestown recommends a late-fall application of a slow-release granular 24-0-10 fertilizer. The numbers indicate the percentage by weight of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, respectively. Potassium is also important at this time because it aids in root growth, disease protection, drought tolerance, and cold resistance. (A soil test can tell you how much of each nutrient your lawn actually needs.) The cautions against spreading fertilizer close to waterways, however; they are vulnerable to contamination from runoff. Lawn Doctor’s company policy is to maintain a 5-foot buffer wherever water is present.
6. Spread seed.
A dense lawn also is good protection against weeds, which is why it’s important to overseed existing turf. Not only does that fill in thin spots or bare patches, it allows you to introduce the latest in resilient, drought-tolerant grasses. Fall is the best time to overseed because the ground is still warm, moisture is more plentiful, nights are cool, and the sun is not as hot during the day. But even then, “overseeding is one of the most challenging lawn-care chores. You can’t simply broadcast seeds over an established lawn and expect them to take hold. They need to be in full contact with the soil, kept moist until they germinate, and be well enough established before it gets too cold. Renting a slit seeder is a better option than broadcasting, but those machines are notorious for tearing up turf and leaving your lawn looking like a harrowed field.
7. Stay on schedule.
According to the Lawn Care Buechel Terrace each of the steps above has to be done at the right time for best results. Otherwise, it’s wasted effort. For instance, overseed too late and the seedlings will be too tender to survive. Fertilize too early and the grass will send up tender blades that will get hammered by the cold. Fertilize too late and the grass roots won’t be able to absorb all those nutrients you’re feeding them. Thinking about aerating in the spring because you can’t get around to it this fall? Don’t bother. Spring aeration just makes it easier for weed seeds to get established.
If sticking to the schedule during the fall is proving too difficult, a lawn care service can handle the jobs that aren’t getting done. Most often, those are the ones that require renting heavy machinery like core aerators and slit seeders, which are hard to transport, a bear to operate, and often in short supply at the rental yards at this time of year. Delegating one or two of those chores to a pro during this busy season will ensure the work gets done when it should—and that you will be enjoying a thick carpet of green grass next year.