The warmth of Summer is fading and the leaves are turning beautiful colors. However, believe it or not, now is the perfect time to inspect, note, and take inventory of your yard and garden needs. Early autumn is that time to begin the cleanup and prep up of your lawn and garden.
Rake, Mulch, and Mix
Colorful leaves are not only impressive to look at, but they are a free and valuable resource. During your fall cleanup, these leaves can be raked up, mulched, and put back into your soil. Better yet, if you own a mower with a mulcher, this task won’t take long at all. The mulcher will shred the leaves which will fall back into the lawn. Afterward, the leaves will decompose and feed your yard throughout the fall and winter, and into spring. As a side note; you don’t want to leave dense coverings of leaves on your yard, as this will block most of the sunlight and rob your lawn, and any plants under them, of the light they need to grow, live and thrive.
Once you have cleared all the leaves and any other natural debris from your lawn, you can mix this mulch mixture into the soils of your garden and any other area you want to feed with nutrients.
DeThatch – Aerate Your Lawn
The next step is to dethatch your lawn; you need to rake out all the dead yellow and brown grass that lies just under the living, vibrant green grass. On occasion, you may want to aerate your lawn to expedite the natural delivery of water, nutrients, and oxygen to the soil.
Early fall is the best time of year to begin fertilizing your lawn and garden. Much like eating and hydrating yourself right after a workout, your lawn has been through the heat filled torment of summer and needs to recover its energy and nutrients. This requires you to be proactive, both to rebuild your lawns natural health and aesthetic appeal, as well as staying ahead of the weeds that can rob your grass of water and nutrients. You can visit a local home improvement store, or do a little internet research on solutions to address weed control.
To really get ahead of things, you will want to do a soil pH test which you can purchase and do it yourself if you feel up to the challenge. The kits are rather inexpensive and require little effort, with most of them running less than ten dollars. You will gain valuable information about your soils health and the actions you need to take to ensure a healthy, happy, and fulfilling growing season.
Prep Your Garden
Now that your lawn is set up and primed for the cold weather it is time to prep your garden for the plunge into the cold. First off, avoid deadheading all your flowers and plants, let a good number of them mature and ripen. Let nature take its course, and you will be rewarded. Then you will have little parcels of seeds you can scatter around your garden and can even start some pots indoors. Many plants and herbs can be grown indoors and enjoyed throughout the winter.
Winterizing your garden beds should also be done in the fall. You should clean out all debris and dead plant material first. Do not compost diseased or mildew laden plants to ensure a clean, healthy garden bed free of pests and diseases. We can never eliminate all pests, but you can put in a little extra work and control the onset and outbursts that will occur.
You’ll want to wait until the leaves on your perennials die back before cutting them back. If they’re still green, they are still collecting nutrients. So be respectful and let them finish their meals before slicing them up.
Some folks like to cover their garden beds with old rugs or a tarp to keep the weeds from feeding on sunlight. Some also place a cover layer of leaves over the soil as well. This works especially good for future garden beds or areas of your lawn you intend to seed in the spring.
Depending on where you live, you may want to wrap shrubs and bushes up for the winter and protect them from the heavy snow and cold. Wood chips, straw, or whatever material you use should be laid 6 to 8 inches deep for the best protection of tender roots and sleeping plants. Some plants are more sensitive than others and will require frost guards and lots of TLC.
Prepping also includes making sure your gutters are clean and clear for obvious reasons. You do not need the disaster that comes from fully frozen gutters in the heart of winter.
Lastly, clean up all your tools, shed and or garage; keep everything clean dry and organized.
Planning, preparation and a lot of hard work will pay off with a bright, flourishing environment; which will feed you with both aesthetic pleasure and a nutritious, bountiful harvest of edibles. You only get out what you put in, and nothing grows without effort and time. Just do right by nature, and she will do right by you.
For more information or to hire a professional to do the job for you, give us a call at 262-662-0201 or contact us today!