Fall Lawncare Tips

Posted on: 28 September 2017

With winter just around the corner, you may be looking forward to being done with summer yard work. Before retiring the garden tools, though, you need to take a few steps to make sure your landscape is properly winterizing. Investing the time now can help ensure your yard wakes up from its slumber in spring looking its best.

Cut back and trim

Many perennials and small shrubs should be trimmed back in fall. This includes plants like lavender, peonies, and sage. Begin by cutting back the dead foliage on plants that go fully dormant, leaving no more than a few inches to protect the crown of the plant. For evergreen plants like lavender, cut back the old flower stems (if applicable) and tidy up the leafy stems to a rounded shape. You can also trim larger evergreen shrubs the same way. The rounded shape allows snow to slide off so the weight doesn't damage the plant.

Apply fresh mulch

All garden beds should get a fresh covering of mulch before winter frost arrives. For annual beds, first pull out the dead plants and weed thoroughly. Then, top the beds with a 2-inch mulch layer. The mulch looks nice, protects the topsoil, and prevents weed invasions. For perennial beds, remove weeds and trim the plants before laying down a 4-inch layer mulch. The deeper mulch layer protects perennial root systems from temperature fluctuations.

Mow wisely

A major part of putting the landscape to bed for the season is the final mow. Many homeowners make the mistake of mowing the lawn too low in the fall, perhaps in an effort to protect the grass from snow mold. A better alternative is to cut the grass no more than a ½ inch lower than usual – usually leaving the grass between 1 ½ to 2 inches in length. This way the lawn self-mulches since the grass blades protect the roots. If the lawn looks moldy or ugly come spring, there is enough length to mow off the grass tips right away. This is usually sufficient for removing much of the winter damage.

Provide a final feed

Fall is a good time to fertilize some plants. Nearly any late winter and spring flowering plant, such as lilacs, daffodils, and tulips, can benefit from having nutrients in the soil and waiting for them when they wake up in the spring. Plants that put on a spurt of growth in late spring or summer generally don't require feeding until early spring. Your lawn can also benefit from an application of winter fertilizer. This way it has the nutrients it needs to green up more quickly when the temperatures begin to warm in early spring.

For more help, contact landscape contractors near you.