Ready or not, Autumn is upon us! As the weather cools down and we begin to see some long-anticipated rain, be sure to take careful steps so that your landscape stays healthy throughout winter. Grasses and shrubbery continue growing until the first freeze (middle of October-November, depending on where you live), so don't neglect their care just because of sweater weather!
One of the most important things to do for your landscape before winter is to spend time cleaning up! Unfortunately, your gorgeous lawn will suffocate unless you regularly rake those beautiful leaves as they fall. While a few broken-down leaves can provide nutrients for your soil, a thick leaf blanket keeps in moisture and keeps out any sunlight necessary for grass survival. It also may result in mold. So - don't get lazy with your raking (or teach the kids)!
Autumn is also the best time to clean up your garden beds. For your flowering trees and dead rose bushes, prune by trimming dead blooms or branches to their desired shape! This is an excellent time for simple touch-ups on your shrubs and perennial greenery as well.
Throughout the season, you will notice that most of your summer produce plants will be ready for removal as well. Some experts say that if your climate isn't subject to much freezing over the winter, you can leave your carrots or potatoes until spring in case they come back. After your fall harvest dissipates, though, pull out the remaining squash and pumpkin vines and prepare the soil for a long winter's rest!
During Autumn, continue mowing regularly. Just because the weather is cooler doesn't mean your grass isn't still growing! A good rule of thumb is to keep your lawn around 3 inches in length (no shorter than 2.5 inches). As we creep up to winter, slightly lowering your mower's blades ensures a shorter cut and is best for the grass during those winter months.
A thick, robust lawn will help it survive throughout the cold season. As the seasonal rains begin, apply a winterizing fertilizer to encourage growth. While mixtures used in the source should be high in nitrogen, autumnal fertilizers should have equal amounts of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. We recommend a 16-16-16 grass feed.
For your lawn areas that took a hit this summer, fall is the ideal time to seed! Similar to the fertilizer, use a seed that is evenly calibrated for best results. In most cases, you can't apply too much, so be generous! A dense lawn is resilient, weed-resistant, and more sustainable. The key to seed germination is to ensure the seed makes full contact with the soil and remains moist until it is fully established.
Now for the fun part of fall gardening: this is the best time to plant your spring-blooming bulbs (like tulips and daffodils)! Once the weather is consistently cool, but before it freezes overnight regularly, plant your bulbs in loose, healthy soil. Try to keep in mind what nearby plants and shrubs look like with full foliage so those little flowers are still visible come spring!
Enjoying these tips? Be sure to send us pictures of your landscape on our social media!