Sure, the sun is still shining bright and the official start of autumn is still a few weeks away, but it’s never too early to start making a checklist to ensure your landscape is ready for winter. We’ve gathered 10 tips to get your landscaping winter-ready and set you up for a great spring!
1. Aerate in Fall
One way to help get your lawn ready for a long winter is to aerate in the fall, while your lawn is still looking green and beautiful. Aerating in the fall helps to break up soil that has been compacted by an entire season of growing, mowing, and foot traffic. In doing so, it creates channels for water and additional nutrients to get down into the root system of your lawn. In the event that winter comes late, as it sometimes will, it would benefit you to keep watering your lawn during any dry stretches leading up to winter. This will help your lawn get that nice green color sooner in spring.
2. Seed in Fall
In tandem with aeration, overseeding in fall helps to fill in those pesky bare spots that creep up, helping ensure better coverage in the spring. Further, fall seeding helps your lawn fight diseases because a variety of hardy grass types are ideal in preventing the spread of lawn diseases.
3. Use Soil Conditioner
To get a nice green lawn, you don’t just take care of the turf itself, but also the soil in which it grows. By using soil conditioner in the fall, you can help amplify the rest of your lawn care efforts and realize a thicker, lusher lawn in the spring.
4. Fertilizing and Weed Control
You put a lot of time and money into proper lawn maintenance, and you will see the biggest return on that investment when you fertilize in the fall. In addition, your best defense against pesky perennial weeds (e.g., thistles, dandelions, etc.) is to use weed control spray in the fall, rather than summer.
5. Trim and Fit
A great way to prevent the spread of certain diseases in plants is to prune them in their dormant season, which, for many species, is fall. When it comes to deciduous trees, the falling of the leaves is a good sign that they are entering dormancy. This is the ideal time to prune them. While your conifers don’t have the tell-tale leaf loss, fall is also a good time to shape them, as well.
6. Keep on Watering
We mentioned it briefly above, but it is worth mentioning again. Occasionally, you will have a long autumn and late start to winter. While the high summer temps aren’t scorching your lawn anymore, if you are getting prolonged stretches without rain, you should be watering. Note: If overnight lows are getting below freezing, you should NOT be watering.
7. Fertilize Those Trees
A funny thing happens to trees and shrubs in the fall. Less direct sunlight leads to a cooling of the soil that also becomes more evenly moist. This leads to growth in early fall before the leaves start to drop. Fertilizing at this time can help boost that growth and lead to a healthier root system that is better able to withstand winter. Trees and shrubs that do better in winter really thrive with the spring thaw.
8. Blow Out Your Sprinklers
If you have a sprinkler system, be sure to blow it out before the first freeze. Burst pipes are not only inconvenient, they are costly. Compressed air is good way to clear remaining water and moisture from your pipes. In addition, be sure to cover the backflow preventer. This helps to ensure hard freezes don’t burst a pipe and flood your basement. If you are unsure how to do this, consult with the company that installed your system. They will have experience related to your exact situation.
9. Trim Those Perennials
As we get to the point in fall when the temps get below freezing, your plants will start to die back. This is the time you want to cut back your perennials so the stems are sticking out of the ground by an inch or two. A little later in fall, but before the snow starts to fly, consider topping off the mulch in your flower beds to help protect your precious perennials from those inevitable hard freezes. Speaking of mulch, when you add mulch around your trees for the season, you’ll want to keep it spread out evenly around the base of the tree, rather than having it come to a mound at the trunk. Spreading the mulch this way helps to prevent critters from digging around your trees jeopardizing the root system.
10. Plant for Spring
Most of the prep you do in fall is not just to help ensure your landscaping survives in winter, but that it thrives in spring. That said, it’s not too late to do some planting, as well! For bulbs, trees, and shrubs, the cooler air temps combined with warmer soil temps makes for ideal growing conditions. Because the first half of September often stays hot like summer, you’ll want to look toward late September or early October for planting. Planting at this time allows your plants, trees, and shrubs to take root, grow a little, and be ready to burst forth during the spring thaw.
To get the most out of your landscaping, E.P.M. Lawnscape and Supply offers professionals landscaping services in the Jackson, MI area. Feel free to contact us online or call us today at (517) 990-0110.