Everyone always seems to put so much emphasis on the annual spring clean-up, but if you want to be efficient and stay on top of yard clean-up, getting everything done in the fall to prepare for winter will leave you with much less work once the snow melts. While yard cleanup isn’t always our favorite project to complete, if you break it up into chunks and stagger it out over a couple of weeks, it should be a lot more manageable. Here’s a handy list of all the things you need to get done for a complete fall yard clean up in the Quad Cities Metropolitan area.
- Rake Your Leaves: This is perhaps the most essential part of fall lawn cleanup. Making sure all those leaves are packed up and disposed of will ensure that your grass doesn’t get smothered and damaged, so you won’t have to reseed any bare spots later. Old leaves can trap bacteria and become an unsightly, soggy mess in the spring, so removing them from your yard before the snow arrives is an absolute must. If you’d like to kill two birds with one stone, you can use some of your raked leaves as a protective mulch over your garden beds to help keep your perennials and bulbs insulated over the winter.
- Plant Your Fall Bulbs: Spring-blooming bulbs should be planted in the fall so they can pop up as soon as things start to warm up. In the early spring, these first flowers will fill your yard with gorgeous, colorful blossoms. Check the packaging to see how deep they should be planted, when planting you can use bulb booster and apply a layer of mulch over the top to keep them insulated, sprinkle some Plantskkydd Repellent to prevent them from getting gobbled up by squirrels and rabbits.
- Remove Spent Annuals And Vegetable Plants: Getting rid of old annual flowers and vegetables that won’t make it through the winter is an essential part of preparing a vegetable garden for winter. Not only are old, dying plants a bit of an eyesore, but they’re perfect hiding places for garden pests and disease to lurk. To maintain good soil health, prepare garden beds, and protect the other plants in your yard, it’s best to do a thorough clean-up and remove all your old annual plants. If you have any cold weather vegetables that you can still harvest through November, such as cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, you can help protect them from frost by covering them overnight with landscaping fabric or tarps.
- Bring Container Plants Indoors: So many gorgeous container arrangements could have been spared simply by bringing them indoors over the winter. If you have any potted outdoor plants you’d hate to part with, you might as well try bringing it inside. Not all arrangements will get the sun they need by sitting next to a window, but some of your plants may surprise you.
- Wilt Pruf Your Evergreens: If there’s anything you should absolutely focus on when winterizing plants, it’s making sure your beautiful evergreen trees and shrubs are protected. We love the stunning green color they provide us with year-round, but to keep them that way, we have to prepare them for the cold by protecting them from winter damage. Sometimes evergreens can start to turn brown and lose their needles after an icy cold Quad Cities winter, but if you prepare them for winter by making sure you give them a good watering and spray them with a product called Wilt Pruf, which helps seal the moisture in the needles and leaves of evergreens. Wilt Pruf is best applied when the temperature is still 45 degrees, works great on boxwood, rhododendron, holly, and azaleas.
- Prune Any Plants That Require It: Some fall pruning can help a great deal in keeping your garden looking well maintained and healthy, but make sure you don’t prune any spring flowering plants that develop growth on old wood. Summer flowering plants usually blossom on new wood, and those are the ones that should be trimmed back in fall.
- Apply Rodent Repellant To Fruit Tree Bark: Turns out a lot of rodents develop a liking for fruit tree bark during the colder months when their favorite foods aren’t as plentiful. Applying some rodent repellant, or even applying a protective covering such as tree wrap can help spare your trees from pest damage.
- Clean Your Gutters: It’s everyone’s least-favorite yard clean-up task, but making sure your gutters are draining correctly can help prevent damage to your home by ensuring water doesn’t pool around the edges.
- Cover The Barbecue: At the end of fall once the temperatures dip below freezing, you can still use your barbecue if you’re willing to brave the cold, but protecting it with a high-quality barbecue cover will serve you well. If anything, it will make it easier to use because you can pull the cover straight off and get grilling, instead of having to scrape off all the ice and snow from the barbecue, which could cause significant cosmetic damage.
By completing just one task per day, you should be able to fully prep your yard and complete the full clean-up in just over a week. Not too shabby! If you need any essential tools or supplies such as tree wraps, protective gloves, or gardening shears, visit us at our garden center in the Quad Cities, and we’ll help you get set up to tackle this project like a pro.