Doing fall work on your yard prepares it to rest for the winter, and allows it to grow even better next spring. Most of us are just thankful to see that last cutting done and the cooler weather start, but to do landscaping and lawn care correctly, we really need to think like a professional. Here are five fall gardening practices professional landscapers do, and you should too!
- Cut: Give your yard one last cut. Even if the lawn appears to have hit that point where it is not growing, there is still new growth in some places. Around the end of November, give the entire lawn one last cut to make sure the grass blades are a uniform length for the winter. This allows even exposure to the winter sun and prevents mold and other issues.
- Test the pH levels: Before you reseed the lawn and take care of overly stressed spots left over for summer, send in a soil sample to test the pH levels of your soil. Only after you have addressed any deficiencies in the soil can you reseed with new grass. To do so in unhealthy soil is a waste of time and money. Soil testing runs around $15, and it is money well spent. Use a certified seed for reseeding as it will grow better and there will be less weed seed and almost no filler.
- Prune: Fall is a great time to prune back your hedges, trees and many flowering perennials. This allows for more controlled growth in the spring and keeps the plant healthy by not having to use energy to nourish unnecessary growth. Do not prune back hydrangeas or lilacs as they can be damaged and new blooms in the spring will be sparse.
- Plan for spring: Now is the time to plan for spring and maybe even plant for new spring growth. You may need to divide some fast growing healthy plants or you may need to plant new bulbs for spring growing. Now is the time to draw out a map of how you want the landscape to look and plan accordingly.
- Take care of your tools: Fall is also the time to take care of your tools. Clean and service any lawn equipment before putting it away for the winter. Flush out and store hoses and attachments so they will be protected during the winter months. Allowing water to stand in your hoses can damage them as water freezes and expands. Everything should be put away to await the spring when you will find your tools and equipment in good shape, saving you time and money.
These five things pro landscapers do to their yards every fall will help you make the most out of those last few yard maintenance sessions as the summer winds down and the crisp air of fall begins.