Last month we shared with you a variety of fun ways to embrace the autumn season in Wisconsin. We hope you have been able to do a few of these activities and are enjoying this fun time of year! But after the leaves change color, they wilt and fall from the trees, landing in our yards. This usually leads to lots of raking and gathering them into trash bags for the garbage collection. But there are alternatives to this seasonal chore.
Fallen leaves are great to use as mulch. They enrich your soil, lock in moisture, and protect your plants from the cold temperatures soon coming with our Wisconsin winters. It will also save you money on buying mulch!
When using leaves as mulch, first shred them with a mulching mower or leaf blower on the vacuum setting. Shredding is key. Adding too thick of a layer of leaves can block air and water from permeating the ground. An overly thick layer can also lock in too much moisture, potentially damaging plants that are susceptible to rot.
After a thin layer of shredded leaves is applied to your beds, you will likely have plenty of leaves left on your lawn. You can still avoid raking by using a mulching mower to chop up a thin layer of leaves to be left on your lawn. This provides your soil with nutrients and suppresses weeds. If you mow each week until the leaves have finished falling, your lawn will look better next spring. Most modern lawnmowers have a mulching capability, and older mowers can be converted to mulchers by installing a mulching blade.
If you compost, you may want to save some leaves for the spring. Next year, you’ll need dry materials, such as the fall leaves, when you start gardening and weeding. If you keep a few garbage bags of fall leaves stored away over the winter, you won’t have any problem making perfect compost in the spring. The dry leaves will help to prevent your compost from becoming too soggy.
In addition to all the leaves, autumn is a critical time to improve the health of your lawn by applying fertilizer and other nutrients. You must know the current pH level and amount of other soil nutrients so you can apply the correct amount of fertilizer. Having too much or too little of these nutrients or limestone can be harmful. Have your soil tested by a professional and use the test results to guide you on the proper nutrients to add for your lawn’s pH level.
Fall is also the best time to dethatch and aerate your lawn to help nutrients reach deep into the root zone. After dethatching or aerating your lawn, reseed to rejuvenate the entire lawn or fill in bare spots.
Gardens, perennial flower beds, trees, and shrubs also need special care in the fall while preparing your lawn for winter.
Properly caring for your lawn in the fall can be a little overwhelming, and you will want to do it right to keep it healthy over the winter months. Createscape Landscaping Services is here to help with all these tasks. Createscape is experienced at winterizing the lawn, trees and shrubs, and even lakes and ponds. Call us at (262) 662-0201 or visit us online at createscapelandscaping.com to learn how we can help get your property ready for winter.