Fall landscaping can be incredibly rewarding, particularly when the fruits of your labor become apparent in the early spring months. If you want to prep your lawn for the next growing season, though, you’ll need some specific tools to get the job done. Here’s what you’ll need to carry you through autumn’s landscaping.
An aerator isn’t always necessary, but if you happen to see pools of water on your lawn after a decent rainfall, then it’s probably a great idea. As the ground becomes more and more compressed with time, the rainwater has difficulty penetrating the soil, and that’s what leads to the pooling. While a mechanical aerator is best for larger lawns, you can use a simple garden fork for smaller areas.
Grass falls dormant through the winter, but the roots keep growing as long as the ground hasn’t reached the 40-degree mark. Even if your lawn spends much of the winter under a blanket of snow, applying a high-phosphorus fertilizer now is the best way to make sure your lawn comes up lush, and a beautiful, bright green, much earlier in the spring. Ideally, you want a 12-25-12 mix, and to apply the last fertilizer of the year before the first snowfall of the season.
Many homeowners make the mistake of failing to mow their lawn one last time before it falls dormant, and while it won’t necessarily cause long-lasting issues, it can make your lawn unsightly. Think of it like this: the shorter the grass in your yard, the less falling leaves have to latch onto. What’s more, shorter grass is far more resistant to any diseases such as fungi that tend to crop up in the fall months. The best length for your final mow is anywhere from 1 to 1¼ inches.
If you made any new beds this year, be sure to provide them with a solid layer of mulch. You can use straw, wood chips, or even chopped leaves. You will want to do this after the first light frost of the year, and ideally before the ground freezes hard. If you already have preexisting mulch in your older beds, till it down into the ground and then apply fresh mulch on top.
Finally, if you water your lawn and/or garden using a drip irrigation system throughout your yard, be sure to clean out all of the tubing. If water is left inside them, it could freeze and expand, which can crack the tubing. To prevent unnecessary replacements, grab an air compressor, switch it to the low pressure setting, and connect the part of the tubing that normally attaches to the system tap to an air hose. This could save you hours (if not days) worth of work in the spring.
Fall landscaping is all about making your lawn look as nice as possible during the fall and winter months while preparing grass and other plants for a strong, early, and colorful reemergence in the spring. Whether you choose to hire a professional landscaping company, or do much of the work on your own, these tools will go a long way toward making your job simpler.
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