Cooler weather brings bittersweet emotions. Some people are relieved to get a break from the summer heat and all the garden maintenance it brings, but others cringe at the thought of the impending cold and dark months of winter. While gardening will be one less thing on your to-do list come winter, there is still some necessary work to be done to prepare your landscaping for fall. After all, the better you maintain your fall garden, the less work there will be in spring. Here are the most important tasks to best prepare your landscaping for fall:
Prepare Your Landscape for Fall: Lawn Care
For proper lawn care maintenance, a good rule of thumb is to mow once more in the fall before your grass enters its winter dormancy period. Lower the blades on your lawn mower for your fall mow, so the grass isn’t too tall before receiving snow. Tall grass will be flattened by snow and could cause issues in the spring. You can read more about mowing and lawn care here.
- Mulch Leaves
One of the most dreaded fall tasks is raking up endless leaves. Fortunately, we have an alternative solution: mulch them into your lawn instead. Remove the grass catcher on your mower and mow as usual, ensuring you reduce the leaves to dime-sized pieces.
After that, simply let nature take its course! Worms and microbes will work the leaves into the soil, recycling carbon in the process. This method not only takes less effort but is also much better for the environment. Bagged leaves are brought to landfills, and burning leaf piles releases carbon into the atmosphere. It makes far more sense to dispose of leaves naturally, especially if it helps improve your lawn for spring.
In the fall, adding a slow-release fertilizer will give your lawn the nutrients it needs to sustain itself while dormant, resulting in a stronger root system. Your lawn will have a much easier time bouncing back in the spring, too. With added nitrogen, the microbes in your yard will recycle carbon more efficiently, which means they’ll break down those mulched leaves even faster. At Meyer Garden Center, we have an excellent line of BioFlora Organic fertilizers that are effective and eco-friendly.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to aerate and overseed your lawn in the fall. Aerating helps improve air circulation, and overseeding will fill in any dry or sun-damaged patches sustained from the summer heat.
Prepare Your Landscaping for Fall: Annuals
By fall, annuals will be reaching the end of their growing and blooming cycle. Now is the time to remove spent blooms and dig up the remaining plants. Certain annuals like chrysanthemums can be potted in a container and brought inside to be enjoyed as a houseplant.
Prepare Your Landscaping for Fall: Perennials
Fall is the ideal time to divide overgrown perennials. Dividing helps keep the plant healthy and your garden less crowded. Cut back any spent blooms and tall foliage but leave dried seed heads for birds to eat in the winter. You should also add a layer of mulch over any perennials, trees, and shrubs to keep them protected against cold winter weather.
Prepare Your Landscaping for Fall: Bulbs
Fall is the time to plant your spring-blooming bulbs. Summer-blooming bulbs and tender perennials have bulbs, corms, or rhizomes that aren’t winter-hardy, which means they need to be carefully stored.
Spring-blooming bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and narcissus need a period of cold temperatures to initiate their growth cycle, which is why they need to be planted in the fall. Make sure your new bulbs are covered with soil and mulch to keep them nicely insulated.
Checking these items off your to-do list is a great way to prepare your home landscaping for fall. For further inquiries about how to prepare your fall landscaping or to pick up essential tools and equipment like fertilizer, stop at our beautiful Meyer Garden Center in Moline, Illinois.