Somehow this time of year always sneaks up on us. When we need to write down the date for something, we are suddenly shocked at how fall has arrived! Since the busy hustle of getting kids back into school is over and our routines are starting to fall back into place. We start to think of all the work we need to do on our properties in preparation for winter. I have created a handy checklist of things that need to get done before the snow starts to fly.
Fall Clean Up Checklist
- Lawn Care: September and October are great months to fertilize your lawn. A fertilizer like 8-4-20 + 2% Magnesium is a great way to build essential sugars and root reserves for getting your lawn through the long- cold winter. Over seeding your lawn in the fall is also a good idea. When things start to grow in the spring, your lawn is lush and full. Fall is also a great time to apply herbicides to get rid of the pesky weeds. With these simple tips you are giving your lawn a head start in the spring. You freshly over seeded lawn can crowd out whatever weeds try to invade.
- Planting time: Fall is a fantastic time to plant trees. Less heat = less stress for the uprooted plants and they often do better adjusting to their new home. Shrubs and perennials feel the same way about being planted in the fall, it gives them a boost and lets them focus on getting established. Once the spring rolls around they can focus on growing in their new space. Another fun thing to plant in the fall is Spring Bulbs. Bulbs need a long period of cold temperatures to begin to grow, so plant the bulbs in the fall. Watch the beautiful displays of colour that greet you first thing in the spring.
- Leaf Cleanup: Cleaning up your leaves in the fall is a conflicting topic. Some say that leaving them on your lawn and garden helps provide nutrients to the soil as the leaves break down. Others say that it contributes to mold and mildew spores left in the soil which results in the spread of diseases. Both are true. I find the best way to keep your lawn healthy and tidy is mowing the leaves while cutting the grass. It shreds them into a mulch and the pieces fall down to the soil in between the blades of grass. There the shreds of leaves can break down and give the proper nutrients and organic matter back to the soil. I have seen the negative effect of mold and mildew and find it is best to clean up the leaves from your maintained garden. Some more sensitive plants can contract diseases and molds. The leaves that I collect from my gardens I use in my pallet composter.
- Garden shut down: Shutting down your garden is an essential part of your fall clean up. Rather than your plants focusing on killing off their leaves and summer growth. They can focus on building up stores in their roots for the long winter ahead. As a general rule of thumb, trim back your shrubs a few leaves down and cut your perennials almost to the ground. If you are not sure about a plant it is best to ask a pro. Fertilizing your trees and shrubs with a slow release fertilizer is also a great way to help them throughout the winter.
Fall is a beautiful time of year, so enjoy the last few months of beautiful fall colour, that golden sunshine, and time outside with the family doing chores. Winter is just around the corner with a completely different list of outdoor chores.