Fall Gardening Tips: Preparing your Yard for Winter
Fall is the perfect time to prepare for winter. There are many things you can do in your yard now that will help protect it from the elements over the coming months and make sure it’s ready to go when spring arrives again. Fall cleanup is important for a healthy lawn When cleaning up dead leaves and other autumn debris you should consider the timing, tools, and methods that will help protect your lawn. Raking or blowing leaves into the grass can damage it due to concentrated wetness followed by dryness. It’s best to bag them instead of raking them, but if they must be raked, don’t do it when the soil is too wet or too dry. A great time to rake is early in the morning when moisture levels are lower after the dew has evaporated overnight.
Repair Your Fences & Gates
Fences and gates should be inspected for any damage that may have occurred over the summer months. Check for broken boards, loose nails, holes, and anything else that could potentially cause issues in the spring when your plants start to grow again. Keeping up with maintenance on your fences and gates will help make sure they last a long time! One of the most urgent issues that are often overlooked are doors that have come off the hinges. This is a safety hazard for both humans and animals. Repairing it as soon as possible will help prevent bigger problems down the road!
Winterize Lawn Mowers
Make sure you winterize your lawn mower before storage. This means draining all of the gas from it to prevent possible issues with the carburetor getting gummed up during cold weather. Also, add a stabilizer to keep gasoline from going bad while sitting for several months. Make sure you change the oil if it’s time and if your mower has a leaf bagger or other attachments remove them now. If you leave the bagger on and it gets filled with snow in the spring there’s a chance your mower may start to smoke.
Clean Your Lawn Tools
Give your yard tools a bit of TLC before putting them away for the season. Give them all an extra wipe down to make sure they are completely clean, especially after using harmful products during lawn care this summer. This simple step can help extend the life of your yard tools and prevent them from rusting. In a well-ventilated area, use a wire brush to remove all visible rust from the metal parts. Remember to wear protective gloves and eyewear when using a wire brush.
Clean Debris From Leaves, Pools & Gutters
There’s a lot of things you can clean up this time of year to make spring cleaning less painful. Clogged gutters and downspouts are the main culprits when it comes to water damage in your home, so be sure to get them cleared out before winter hits hard.
Leaf debris is another thing that should be cleaned up at this time of year (before any snow starts falling). Make sure you get all leaves away from the base of your plants, otherwise they will rot and cause problems for next season!
Pool covers are an important aspect to consider for fall preparation. If you’re planning on using the pool at all over the coming months it’s a good idea to take the cover off and store it somewhere safe. If you’re not going to be using the pool for a while, make sure you get the cover on to prevent any damage from occurring.
Winterize Your Plumbing
Winterizing your plumbing can help prevent expensive problems in the spring when you turn on your taps again. Drain any excess water from outdoor faucets and remove them from their base if possible (if they normally sit outside). This will keep pipes from freezing during cold weather and save you some cash! You may also want to drain hot water tanks and give them a bit of TLC before storage as well!
Leaking water is one of the most common plumbing problems, particularly during the winter months. Before your pipes freeze up this year, look around to find any dripping faucets, running toilets, or raised floor tiles that may be causing excess moisture in your home. Take care of these issues now before they cause more serious problems for you later on.
Fertilize Your Lawn
Fall is the best time to fertilize your lawn as it will help prepare your yard for winter and give it a boost of much-needed nutrients before winter begins. Fall also marks the beginning of our ‘weed and feed’ treatments which go hand-in-hand with fertilizing. This is a complete lawn program that fertilizes and feeds at the same time, killing any grass or weed seeds that have emerged in your lawn. It also keeps the soil warm throughout winter which will help break down fertilizer faster come spring!
Water Last Chance Lawns
Fall is the last chance to water most areas of your yard, but if you have any warm-season grasses in full sun that are crispy dry, give them a nice long drink before winter sets in. If they’re not fully dormant they must get enough moisture before the cold sets in because once the ground freezes it will be difficult or impossible for plants to take in water. The exception to the last-chance rule is trees that have roots in water tables or near bodies of water. These “water table” trees will benefit from continued irrigation until the ground freezes.
Spread Pine Needles & Leaves
Spread a layer of pine needles or leaves around evergreens to help insulate them from winter’s harsh elements. If you don’t have trees on your property consider asking a neighbor if you could collect a few bags of their clippings to use as mulch. This is especially helpful if they also have evergreens in their yard. The thicker the layer, the better. Evergreen needles should be left under shrubs too where there isn’t much room to spread other types of mulch because evergreens need all the protection they can get during winter!
Cover Those Pond Plants
Fish love to travel around garden ponds in the fall to either escape the winter chill or stay away from predators during mating season. So if you have any aquatic plants be sure to cover them with mesh netting before the leaves begin falling so they don’t get uprooted by overzealous fish looking for a place to call home. This is especially true for taller plants like lilies, which may hide several fish! We also recommend putting a small piece of plywood on top of the netting to keep it from sinking into the pond due to rain or winter freeze-thaw. If you don’t have any nets on hand (or if your fish are big bullies), you can cut up old T-shirts or towels instead.
Remove All Unwanted Items
Before putting your tools away in the shed for winter remove anything you won’t need until next season so it doesn’t get rained on and possibly ruined. Check irrigation system labels to make sure everything is turned off and draining properly too. You should also turn off exterior lighting because water can seep into light fixtures and damage electrical components.