August 31, 2020

Do fall chores to make spring growing easier

Most lawn enthusiasts and gardeners love the rites of spring, marking the beginning of a fresh new chapter of green, new life for their yards and outdoor projects.

But don't forget - your autumn lawn needs you too. Orange, black and brown are the beautiful colors of fall, and represent a chance for a home landscaping clean slate. It's well worth the extra time to snugly tuck your lawn and garden in before winter takes hold.

Remember, those weeds fight much harder when they’ve already taken root and spread their leaves. And the spring and summer sunshine give them added muscle.

You've got to get them while you've got a fighting chance. Remember to weed and feed. Do it once in the fall and again before the spring growing starts. Even if you're not a fan, you can use the football season as a reminder. Do it once when the NFL kicks off, then do it again just after the Super Bowl. Follow all label instructions.

Don’t let the long, dead summer grass turn into a winter marsh. Get a jump on the spring and mow one last time. Set the blade ½-inch lower than normal to prevent matting.

Spreading compost is another way to kick start a healthy spring lawn. Secret: Spread corn gluten meal on the yard in the fall to eliminate those big patches of crabgrass.

You don’t necessarily have to rake up dead leaves and clippings. After mowing, use dying leaves and grass as a healthy mulch for the lawn.

Set the lawnmower at about three inches height and let the mower spread the mulch around. A couple of passes with the rake should help finish the job. Over the winter, the leaves will break down and be gone by spring, feeding the healthy new lawn.

With the leaves all gone from your deciduous trees, it’s a good time to trim. In addition to removing branches for safety reasons, cutting dead or diseased branches benefits the overall health of the tree. Proper pruning encourages stronger tree structure and improves flower or fruit production.

Once cleaning and cutting is done, give your garden tools some love. Clean, oil, and sharpen, then store in a dry place for the winter – they’ll last longer and work better.

Lastly, disconnect and drain garden hoses and coil them in a warm, sheltered place where they won’t freeze and crack. Don’t forget to wrap those outdoor spigots.

Late season yardwork isn’t absolutely necessary, but a few simple chores will mean better growth in the spring.