The Official Guide to Managing Your Yard During the Fall
The Official Guide to Managing Your Yard During the Fall
Autumn is the best time of year to prep your yard, garden, perennials and other plants before frost strokes. Here at All Metro Service Companies we have the expertise and tips you need to get your yard ready, as well as the plants that live in it, for the next growing season.
It’s Important to Take Steps to Prepare Your Lawn for Winter In Fall
Here in Minnesota, and other places susceptible to a temperature below freezing, environmental conditions can be harsh during the winter months. It’s therefore of utmost importance to ensure that you give your landscaping, lawn, and or garden a fighting chance to not only survive but thrive when the weather warms and spring arrives.
As the leaves begin to change color and blow from the trees, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your yard for the cooler months ahead. Fall is the best time to perform a few basic lawn maintenance tasks for many reasons. For your plants, lawn or landscaping to be in good shape for early spring, there are a few tips you can implement.
Let’s Talk August Through September
During this time of year, temperatures are starting to cool, and your grass is likely still flourishing from the summer growing season. However, in the cool season, grasses begin to change and there are things you will need to consider performing: fertilizing, aeration and overseeding
Fertilizing in the fall helps your lawn build strong roots over winter so it can green up quickly in the spring. September is one of the best times for fertilization. “Grass is recovering from a long hot summer and may be coming out of a drought-induced dormancy, so you’ll want to give your lawn a shot of nitrogen to push blade growth.”
Lawns and gardens need nutrients just like people do. Fertilizing helps the roots of your plants and lawn store energy during winter so they can bounce back quickly in the spring. It’s an important step to remember whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner. This is because the lawn and perennials are actively growing and taking in nutrients during this time.
Fertilizing can help them withstand winter stress, like snow mold and salt damage. Choosing the right fertilizer can be difficult. There are different types of fertilizers for different needs. For example, tree and shrub fertilizer isn’t the same fertilizer you would use on your lawn. So don’t forget to give your lawn and garden a little extra love – they’ll thank you for it come springtime!
While everyone wants their turf to flourish, this mow and grow cycle can lead to thatch, which is a layer of dead and living plant material between the green grass blades and the soil surface.
A thatch layer more than 1/2-inch thick can prevent water, fertilizer, and pesticides from getting to the roots, and too much thatch can cause, amongst other things, soil compaction and problems for your lawn come wintertime. To help combat this, you should take time to aerate your yard.
Aeration involves perforating the soil and grass with small holes to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the plants roots. This process also helps reduce compaction. Core aeration is best performed in early fall because it gives the grass time to recover before winter. Check out our other article which outlines how to aerate and shares an easy soil test for thatch.
3.) Grass Seed
In the warm summer months, there’s a chance that your grass has thinned due to lack of watering, excessive traffic, or from mowing blades that are too short. One way to replenish your yard is by overseeding.
Overseeding is the process of planting new grass seed in your lawn. It helps to spot treat and fill in thin or bare spots and improves the overall quality of your lawn by increasing density and promoting new growth.
Early fall is a great time to overseed because the cooler temperatures and moist conditions are ideal for germination and root growth, which allows the sprouts to become established and strong enough to survive the winter. You can find another one of our articles that goes more in-depth about this subject in our resources.
Fall is Upon Us: September Through October
Late September and October are when the trees begin to change, and as such, so do the number of leaves you will find on the ground. During this period, you should perform two additional fall maintenance steps: fertilizer/weed control and leaf removal.
1.) Weed Control
Weed control is also important at this time. Take advantage of ridding your lawn of those pesky perennial weeds that are actively taking up nutrients from the garden soil to survive over the winter. Applying a weed control product will help prevent them from coming back in the spring and help prevent any new weeds that might pop up before winter.
2.) Leaf Removal
Fallen leaves can be more than just a nuisance when they accumulate on your lawn. If left unchecked, they can damage your grass by preventing sunlight and water from reaching the blades. They can also provide a perfect environment for mold, mildew, and disease to take hold.
One way to remove leaves is by using good old-fashioned hard work and a rake. While cost-effective, it can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, especially if you have a large yard. Another option is to call a professional landscape company to help you with shredded leaves or get rid of them at the end of the season.
Approaching Winter: October through November
As the temperatures drop, there are a few final things you will need to do before the first frost and hard freeze when turf stops growing and becomes dormant: irrigation blowout and general cleanup.
1.) Irrigation Blowout
When you reside in northern climates, chances are you’re no stranger to what happens to water in freezing temperatures. This of course can wreak havoc on any system that retains a volume of water. Especially true for the irrigation system for your lawn, one way to prevent this is by performing an irrigation blowout.
An irrigation blowout is the process of removing all water from your sprinkler system before freezing temperatures hit. If water is left in the pipes, it can expand and cause them to burst when it freezes. This can be a costly repair, so it’s important to take the time to winterize your system.
Performing an irrigation blowout is no easy task and if performed incorrectly, there is an increased risk of damage to your irrigation system. For added piece of mind, call the professionals at All Metro Service Companies to assist you.
2.) General Cleanup
In late fall, just before the final temperature dips for winter, you will also want to commit to at least one general clean-up around your yard. This includes removing dead growth from trees, sticks and other debris from your lawn so they don’t suffocate the grass. It’s also a good idea to perform a final cleanup of dead leaves and apply them to your garden beds as mulch for winter protection or add them to a compost pile. You can learn more about the benefits of recycling leaves and how it can benefit your garden to have a compost pile and more in this article.
3.) Getting Ready for Winter
Readying plants for winter dormancy is necessary for many desirable plants. By removing annuals, and trimming perennial plants before the ground freezes and winter weather sets in. Snow mold is problematic when you receive a heavy, deep snowfall before the ground has completely frozen. Finally, you should trim back any shrubs or bushes that are close to your home. This will help prevent damage to your foundation when heavy snow and ice accumulate on branches.
Prepare Your Yard For Winter
Performing some basic maintenance tasks go a long way, ensuring your yard is ready for a cold winter. There are additional points to consider, and we’ve created a comprehensive autumn cleanup checklist for anyone who wants additional tips for a healthy lawn and looking to get their yard ready for spring.
While most do not have the time or expertise to fully winterize their lawn, all Metro Service Companies can take care of that for you. Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner we provide lawn care services to get your lawn in tip-top shape before the winter cold sets in.
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