As the leaves begin to turn, you may not have the same excitement for autumn gardening and landscaping tasks as you do for the spring growing season. Regardless, taking care of your garden and landscaping now will contribute to a better looking lawn and garden come springtime. Here are several ways to get your landscaping and garden ready for the cooler weather.
Dig Up Summer Bulbs
Summer bulbs, such as dahlias, oriental lilies, callalilies, and begonias, should be dug up prior to the first frost. Lightly brush off any dirt from the bulbs and store them in paper bags filled with sawdust. Place the bags in a place that is cool, dry and dark until spring planting season.
Trim Back Perennials
Once the leaves and stems on your perennials have turned yellow or brown, it's time to trim them back. If your plants still have green growth by late fall, leave trimming until the springtime.
Divide Dormant Perennials
If you have an overgrowth of perennials that have gone dormant, fall is a great time to divide and re-plant in other areas of your garden. Just make sure the new planting spot is properly mulched to protect from frost.
Plant Trees and Shrubs
Fall is actually the best time to plant trees and shrubs. Fall moisture helps trees and shrubs establish their root systems without the approaching threat of severe heat. For best results, plant trees and shrubs before late October.
Clean Up Your Summer Vegetable Garden
Leftover plants should be pulled and composted and weeds should be pulled or raked over. If you aren't planting any cool weather crops, lay down a fresh layer of tree leaf mulch to keep your garden area weed free for spring.
Plant Cold-Tolerant Vegetables
Cold-tolerant vegetables include garlic, onions, shallots, carrots, and other root vegetables and lettuce varieties. Some of these can even be harvested before the first deep freeze. If not, they'll be ready for the spring harvest.
Have Looming Tree Branches Trimmed
If you have any large tree limbs that became loose or damaged from summer storms and are a threat to your home or safety, it's time to have them removed. Call in a professional tree service for removal. This is one of many non-DIY home maintenance tasks.
Stake Young or Newly Planted Trees
Fall and winter can bring about some harsh winds. By staking your young trees, you'll help them avoid damage from wind and heavy wet snow come wintertime.
Plant Spring Bulbs
Some spring bulbs require the cold of winter for optimal spring growing. Iris, tulip and daffodil bulbs should be planted 6 to 8 weeks before the first hard frost, anywhere from 4-9 inches into the soil, depending on the bulb type. Plant them as they would appear in nature, rather than straight rows, for best results.
Add all of the perennial clippings, spent flower and vegetable plants, grass clippings, and leaves into your compost pile. If you don't have a compost pile, here's how to make a compost bin for under $20.
Lower Your Mower
As the leaves start to turn and fall, lower your mower’s deck height. Mowing at a lower height helps ward off disease and shorter grass allows leaves to blow across your yard instead of matting it down. The recommended deck height for the last mowing sessions of autumn is 1.25.
For more ways to take care of your home's exterior this autumn, check out our Fall Landscaping and Lawn Care Checklist and follow us on Pinterest for continuing ideas on keeping your home and landscape in the best condition.