As color changing leaves mark the closing end of Summer here in New England, Wollaston Development is shifting focus to a key season for landscaping: Fall! Yard work in Autumn is not only beneficial for helping new plants become established, but it also plays a crucial role in ensuring the revival of your landscape following the coming Winter months. A landscape that is not adequately prepared to withstand the cold, harsh conditions of Winter is subject to a multitude of possible complications, such as the development of various diseases and molds, branch damage, and dryness. Raking is only one vital step for Fall lawn maintenance; so after you’ve gathered and jumped into those crunchy leaf piles, take a look at Wollaston Development’s tips for landscaping in the Fall:
1. Start From the Ground Up
It’s important to start with the foundation: the soil! Proper pH and nutrient levels are necessary components in upkeeping healthy lawns and plants. Finding the right balance can mean the difference between a softscape that’s green, luscious and thriving, or one that’s wilted and overrun by weeds. Luckily, the moistness of soil in the Fall allows for greater ease in probing the ground, with the added benefit of ample time to game plan for applications of lime, manure, and fertilizer in the coming year.
2. Maintain the Mowing
While taking the mower out of commission after that last lawn trim feels relieving, there are still a few more boxes to check off the Fall to-do list for thriving grass come Spring. As grass continues to grow until the first hard frost of the season, be sure to maintain trimming, to about a 2.5 to 3 inch height until the first frost to avoid matting and vulnerability to snow mold. After that last mow don’t forget to rake up the remaining layer of dead organic matter called thatch! While a thin layer of thatch can benefit lawns, when it gets too thick, it can limit the movement of nutrients and water, encouraging disease.
3. Feeding the Greenery
Now is the time to feed and revive any brown or bald lawn spots. About six weeks from the first expected frost, cool-season grasses benefit from a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Fertilizing in the fall helps to establish strong roots that increase energy reserves needed to survive winter. Take it a step further by overseeding 45 days before the first expected frost for thick and strong grass next year.
4. Trimmed and Prim
Growth management will give you a healthier, heartier yard when Spring rolls around, but be sure not to over-cut. Start by trimming down or removing any plants that look unhealthy. This will not only brighten up your yard aesthetically, but will also give surrounding plants more room to flourish, and maybe even squeeze one more harvest out of your garden! Perhaps the most important focus of Fall trimming is shrubs and trees. The harsh wind and snow can weigh branches down causing them to break, leading to potential property damage.
5. Proper Perennials
Once your perennials begin to turn brown and die in the Fall, a common misconception is that all of them should be cut down to the ground, however, some perennials actually need to keep some foliage to protect their new shoots throughout the cold months. Study up on which species to cut, and trim them down a few inches from the ground. For any diseased perennials, cut the foliage all the way to the ground, and dispose of it far from other plants so they don’t contract the same disease. After pruning, it’s time to get down and dirty. Fall is a great time to survey any overcrowded areas, and divide bulbs to replant in new plots. While you’re at it, you can also plant new Spring-flowering bulbs and dig up non-hardy bulbs to be stored.