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!
Unfortunately, your gorgeous landscape will likely suffocate unless you regularly rake those beautiful leaves as they fall. While a few sporadic 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. So don't get lazy with your raking (or teach the kids)!
Fall 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.
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 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.
When we reach the middle of fall, most of your summer produce plants will be ready for removal. Clean out your beds, removing everything that is no longer bearing fruit. Some experts say that if your climate isn't subject to much freezing over the winter, you should be fine leaving your carrots or potatoes until spring in case they come back. Once your fall harvest dissipates, pull out remaining squash and pumpkin vines and prepare the soil for a long winter's rest!
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