Fall is here, and Fall is prime time to prep your yard for the next growing season. Cooling temperatures slow growth, and moister soil promotes root development. Removing dead stems, branches, and leaf cover protects plants’ overall health. Here are 9 tasks for your Fall landscaping checklist. Be proactive. Clark’s can help with all these tasks and more.
1. Aerate and Overseed the Lawn
If rainfall pools on the grass, it’s time to aerate and overseed compressed soil so water and nutrients can reach the roots.
2. Feed Your Grass
Cutting back on fertilizer in late summer prevents perennials from wasting energy on leaf production. But grass roots keep growing until the soil gets down to about 40 degrees, so this is a good time to feed them. The right treatment will help your turf green up earlier in Spring.
3. Mow a Final Time
Trim turf down a little further for the last cut of the season. Disease has a harder time with shorter grass, and fallen leaves blow across the lawn easier because they don’t have much to latch on to. But don’t go too low – grass makes most of its food in the upper blade.
4. Collect Leaves
To make fallen leaves easier to move, rake them onto a plastic tarp. You can choose to add them (along with gutter leaves) to a compost bin, which can be a simple chicken-wire pen. If you compost, flip the leaf pile every week with a garden fork to aerate; the “black gold” that results the next year can nourish lawns, flower beds, and shrub borders.
5. Plant New Shrubs
Planting shrubs in early Fall gives the plants a head start at deepening roots in the cool, moist soil of the season.
6. Trim Dead Limbs
Lifeless branches can give way to winter snow and winds, so we help you protect small ornamental trees from further damage by cutting cracked, loose, and diseased limbs close to the trunk.
7. Cut Back Perennials
A little work now results in healthier Spring beds: we remove old annuals, as well as the slugs and snails that feed on them and breed in Fall. Trim spent perennial foliage down to the ground, which sends nutrients to the roots for next season. Some recommend every 3 years dividing crowded tuberous plants like irises and daylilies, since more space can mean more flowers.
8. Mulch Young Plants
Give new beds a layer of mulch—wood chips, weed-free straw, or chopped leaves—best after a light frost, but before the ground freezes. You can till decomposed layers of mulch into the soil, then apply a fresh 2- to 4-inch layer (too much can smother roots) to keep new plantings warm and to control water runoff and soil erosion.
9. Blow Out Irrigation Systems
Standing water can freeze and crack irrigation tubing. For simple systems, shut the water off, unscrew the tap-joint adapter, and, using a high-volume, low-pressure setting on a compressor, insert an air hose where the system normally attaches to the tap. Blowing the water out avoids having to uproot the entire system.
Clark’s can do all these and more. Be proactive – take care of your Fall landscaping needs, contact Clark’s today.