Your Fall Landscaping To-Do List
After the snow melts in 2018, your lawn has the potential to be the most beautiful on the block. Don’t believe me? Here’s a list of 10 things you should do (and why) before the end of November. And I promise, you could do these all in one weekend, or spread them out over the next couple of weeks.
1. Mow your lawn one last time.
I know it can get cold, but you should continue to mow your lawn until it stops growing. If it snows on top of too-long grass, you could get snow mold. Gross! A general rule of thumb is to keep your grass about three inches tall all year long. That way, there is enough surface area for the sun to hit.
2. They test their soil.
Fall is a great time to apply grass seed, but before you do that, have the soil tested to determine pH and nutrient availability. If you don’t correct any necessary deficiencies, you could just be wasting time and money on your lawn. And sure, hiring someone with this expertise sounds expensive, right? You can actually send a sample to a professional for testing for about $15. Soil is such an important part of your landscape, so don’t overlook it.
3. Reseed the lawn.
Now that you have corrected the deficiencies from your soil test, it’s time to aerate and seed the patchy parts. There can also be parts of your lawn that are stressed from foot traffic or summer sun. It depends on the condition of the lawn, but you typically need about 3 pounds for every 1,000 square feet of lawn.
4. Fluff up the mulch.
Officially, it’s called turning the mulch. When you go through and fluff up your mulch, it gives flowerbeds a fresh look and cuts down on (or eliminates) the need for fresh mulch. If you do end up adding new stuff, keep the pile to about 2 or 3 inches thick. Any thicker and you could have problems like insects, plant disease, and water having a hard time being absorbed.
5. Or make your own mulch.
If you find after you turn the mulch that you still need more, try making your own. All those fallen leaves in your yard? Run your lawnmower over them a few times and use them as mulch for your flower beds. Your plants will absolutely love you for this excellent source of organic matter.
6. Do some planning and/or planting.
Fall is a great time to plant bulbs. See our blog about doing that here. It’s also a great time to see what plants need to be divided or re-spaced. Perennials like Hosta plants and daisies especially need this kind of TLC. Take note of what areas need to be filled in to make next year look even better. If you have summer annuals, swap them out for fall-appropriate flowers, like mums and pansies.
7. They give their driveways and walkways some love.
Speaking of TLC, keep in mind that the overall look of your home and lawn includes your diveway and walkways. Take this time to fill cracks and apply a sealant to prevent water penetration damage. The expanding and contracting of freezing and thawing could cause more damage, so this is a great preventative step.
8. Water your evergreens.
Making sure all evergreens are sufficiently watered in the fall will reduce the possibility of dehydration in the winter. How much water do they need, you ask. Well, that depends on your areas fall weather. If there has been rain, like there has been in Omaha, Nebraska, there probably isn’t much water necessary. But, if the weather dries up, you may want to give those evergreens one or two thorough (think hour-long) waterings once a week for up to 3 weeks.
9. Do some pruning.
Give your trees and shrubs a hefty pruning before the cold winter. This will help prevent damage from snow and ice storms. This can also be for looks or to control size for next spring. Just don’t prune the flowering plants (hydrangeas, lilacs, etc.) because it could spoil the spring bloom.
10. Pack up for the winter.
Hooray! Your fall chores are done. Bring in your tools, sprinklers, and hoses. Especially the hoses. Water in the hose will freeze, expand, and damage the hose. And have your irrigation lines blown out so the heads, valves, and lines don’t crack.