Fall means football games and visits to the local pumpkin patch.
It also means it’s time to get your yard ready for winter. The right preparation now will save you time and energy when spring rolls around.
Make sure you get the most out of your yard next year by following our checklist of fall cleanup musts!
Clean out debris
Fallen leaves and weeds are the perfect place for pests to settle in for the winter. Clear out flower beds to keep the critters at bay. Pay special attention to rose beds, as their foliage can foster disease over the winter.
Clean out the gutters
Not all fall cleanup is in the yard. This is the perfect time to clear leaves and other debris from rain gutters. Check for proper drainage, clear out any blockages with a small garden trowel, and rinse with a hose.
Dry everything out
Drain all water from hoses, fountains, drip irrigation systems, and other water features, and store them in a dry place. Water left standing over the winter may damage your equipment if it freezes. Don't forget to blow out those sprinklers!
Sprinkler blowout is one fall step you don't want to miss. Blowing out the sprinklers uses pressurized air to remove all remaining water from sprinkler system pipes, preventing freezing, corrosion, rot, and pipe damage.
Aerate and Feed the lawn
Break up soil to keep water from pooling and guarantee that nutrients will reach the roots over the winter.2 A garden fork will do the job for small yards, but larger yards may require a walk-behind aerator, which should be available to rent for a reasonable price. Add a fall lawn fertilizer with high phosphorous content to encourage root growth and enjoy a lush, green lawn come spring.
Rake and mulch
Don’t let fallen leaves get the best of you; if left unattended they can suffocate the grass. Rake them up, shred them, and use them as mulch for young trees, shrubs, and flower beds to provide a boost of nutrients, help with weed control, and keep roots warm. You might even be able to skip the raking part if you use a lawn mower to mulch the leaves in your yard.
Protect the deck
Prevent the growth of mold and mildew by giving the deck a good power wash. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can rent one from a garden store. Once the deck is clean and dry, add a weatherproofing stain to protect the wood from moisture damage over the winter.
Clean tools and store them
Don’t throw your gardening tools in the shed and forget about them until spring. Take time to give them a good cleaning and add a light coat of oil—such as linseed oil or even vegetable oil—to prevent rust during the cold season.
If you follow this checklist you’re bound to have a wonderfully winterized yard
that will be ready to wow you with lush, green bounty once the warm weather returns!