Fall may easily be our favorite season, but the transitional weather can turn our happy lawns and gardens into a weepy mess. So, take the time to prep your lawn for the cooler months. You’ll not only have less to do come springtime, but your outdoor space will also flourish with joy. Grass will grow back greener and fuller, your garden beds will be primed for new blooms, and your trees and shrubs will remain healthy.
Not sure where to begin with your fall landscaping tasks? We've got you covered with this simple checklist.
1. Stay on top of raking.
Fallen leaves may look beautiful in their colorful glory, but they can damage your grass if left alone. Thick layers of leaves on your lawn can essentially suffocate your grass, robbing it of air, sunlight, and nutrients. By staying on top of your raking, you can keep your grass in better shape.
2. Prune back trees and bushes.
Cutting back dead branches and trimming overgrown shrubs promotes healthier regrowth come spring. Stick to a light pruning, cutting carefully between dying branches and the body of the tree or shrub itself after all the leaves have fallen. For best results, cut at an angle.
3. Aerate your lawn.
Aerating your lawn involves poking holes throughout the soil with a spike. This is an effective way to stimulate water and oxygen circulation, which can keep your grass healthier and keep unwanted weeds from popping up. You can typically rent an aerator from your local home improvement store to speed up the job.
4. Don't forget to fertilize.
Fall is one of the most important times to fertilize your lawn, as the right fertilizer will contain the nutrients your grass needs to survive the winter and come back strong next year. When shopping for a fall lawn fertilizer, look for something with phosphorous to nourish roots.
5. Seed your lawn, if needed.
If there are any bare or sparse patches of grass on your lawn, patch them up with seed or sod; just be sure to water regularly during times of drought.
6. Give it a final (short) mow.
Give your lawn one final mow after the last leaves have hit the ground. Cut your grass shorter than you usually would during the warmer months, ideally down to about 1.25 inches to protect your lawn from disease and prevent a build-up of fallen leaves.
7. Plant spring-blooming bulbs.
There are plenty of bulbs you can plant during the fall that will bloom beautifully in the spring. Depending on where you live, you might consider planting the following types of bulbs during the fall:
When planting bulbs, stick to well-drained soil—and be sure to follow the recommendations on the label. In most cases, larger bulbs should be planted about eight inches deep, whereas smaller bulbs can be planted closer to five inches deep.
8. Mulch garden beds.
A thick layer of mulch applied over your garden beds will not only add curb appeal to your property but will also protect your perennials and other plants from freezing or drying up during the colder months. Meanwhile, pulling weeds from your garden beds now will save you time and hassle in the future and deter unwelcomed pests.
Fall Home Maintenance To-Do List
Your lawn isn’t the only thing that needs attention before the winter weather sets in. Check out our fall maintenance checklist for your home for small to-dos to ensure your home is all set and ready for the elements November, December, and January have in store.