With the turning of the seasons comes cooler air, beautiful foliage, and, unfortunately, a lot of potential for a messy landscape. While it’s common to think about springtime as the season of landscaping, the truth is, there are very important steps that you should be taking in the fall in order to keep your property in optimal shape.
Here are four key fall cleanup tasks that should be remembered.
1. Clean Up Leaves and Debris
Even the leaves from just a few trees can create quite the mess when they start falling. But getting those leave off the ground is not only important for appearances, it’s also vital in terms of prepping your property for the coming winter. Leaves, as well as branches and other debris, which are not properly cleaned up, can create problems for you down the line. For one, they become perfect hiding spots for critters such as rodents and insects to take shelter. All of the debris left on your property may look like an open invitation for them to take up residence.
Leaves left on the property can also kill off the grass underneath of them, creating unsightly bare patches. That’s because matted leaves block sunlight, which grass needs to thrive. This barrier between the sun and the grass can also reduce water evaporation and make fungus and disease more likely to develop.
2. Perform a Final Mowing
That final mowing session is another critical fall cleanup factor that contributes to prepping your lawn for the winter. It’s important that mowing continues right up until the point that the grass stops growing in late fall. Why does it matter? Because grass that is left too long will be more prone to snow mold, a cold-weather fungus that thrives in thick and matted grass. At Bluegrass, we switch our mower deck to accommodate a shorter cut prior to the onset of winter. Ideally, we like to cut grass to the two-inch mark in order to ensure it is in optimal shape heading into the colder months.
3. Prep Your Plants
Just like your lawn, the plants on the property can also become unsightly if not properly prepped for the winter. While ornamental grasses can offer up some interesting texture and color to your winter landscape, they also have the unwanted ability to become matted and ugly after the very heavy snowfall. On top of that, blades can break off and blow around the property, adding to the debris. That’s why you might want to cut back your ornamental grasses to keep them short and trim with Old Man Winter being just around the corner.
You’ll also want to evaluate any flowers that you have on the property. Although some perennials can be left in place during the winter, they can also easily start to look overgrown and messy. Since their roots will survive underground, you can cut them back in the fall to keep your landscape neater. They’ll re-emerge healthy in the spring.
While perennials can survive the winter, your annuals will not. By late fall, the seasonal color you’ve had installed has likely begun to dull or die. Cleaning them out will help keep your landscape looking manicured and your plant beds ready for new annuals come spring.
4. Prepare Your Lawn to Green Up
At Bluegrass, we take a multi-faceted approach to combat weeds and to help your lawn perform its best. This includes a series of steps that include fertilization, aeration and overseeding, and limestone applications as needed for acidic soil.
In the fall, we apply a slow release granular fertilizer with a 46-0-0 nutrient ratio, giving your lawn what it needs to “green up” come spring. The process of aeration and overseeding in the fall will also help your healthy turf thrive, naturally choking out the growth of weeds. Aeration works by using a machine called a core aerator to perforate the soil and allow nutrients and water to make it down to your lawn’s root zone where they are needed most.
In addition, limestone can be applied in the fall to help balance the soil Ph and allow your healthy grass to grow. If your soil is too acidic, your healthy turf could struggle, and opportunistic weeds could creep in.
While the coming cold temperatures will kill off any lingering weeds, winter annual weeds will be taken care of during the early spring treatment schedule. Ensuring that your lawn is part of a vigorous program will help it to continue to look and perform its best.
Leave it to the Pros
The truth is, there’s a lot more to fall cleanup than most people realize. Chances are, you already have a lot on your plate and you’re not really looking for any more tasks to take care of. That’s why you should leave fall cleanup to the pros. Not only will a professional know exactly the right time to perform these services, but they’ll also ensure they’re done properly so that your property can look its best and remain hassle-free as winter rolls around. Don’t let the time for fall cleanup services slip by without doing anything. Let the pros handle it and rest assured it will be taken care of the way that it should. Come spring you’ll be happy you did.