13 Step Fall Checklist To Happier Home
If scorching hot days are a distant memory, and your breaking out the hoodies and sweaters, than it may be time for a little extra work around the yard. Tackling these fall clean up tips will not only make your winter more enjoyable but also eliminate some awful surprises come the spring.
1. Clean Up Debris
Sticks and leaves that have fallen and made your yard their new home should be picked up. Removing material of this sort is also a favorite hiding place for unwanted insects. It is also important to remove any plants or flowers that have gone bye, remember to cut it down and rake it up, especially if it’s diseased.
Leaving any sort of contaminated debris on the ground is a big mistake that can be easily avoided. If you fail to do this you can have problems on your hands when spring rolls around.
2. Turn Beds
After veggies and annuals are done producing or you’ve had a hard frost it’s time to clean and turn over the soil. Start by cutting down all plants or flowers that are finished. Using a shovel or pitch fork dig up any root balls, this will make life easier when turning. Lastly, it’s time to turn over the soil. This process can be easily be done with a garden tiller, which is also the perfect tool to add soil amendments like compost or humus. Check out this article on garden tillers. If you dont have access to a garden tiller a shovel or pitch fork will do the job, but be ready to work!
3. Prune Overhanging Branches
Prune back any overgrown or low hanging branches.If you’re in my part of the world than you know what heavy wet snow can do. Broken branches or leaning shrubs are dangerous and much harder to deal with when covered in frozen wet snow. Falling trees and broken branches are notorious for damaging property this time of year. A little preventative maintenance can save you big in the long run. To learn more about what pruning tools are best check this out.
One big problem with blocked gutters is something that I’m sure SOME of you have never heard of… ICE DAMS! For those of you that haven’t heard of them (your lucky), they occur when snow melts. The melted snow freezes when temps drop, the process repeats creating a mound of ice that grows and grows along a gutter. These ice dams cause major damage and interior water leaks. To learn more about ice dams this Wiki article is the place to go.
5. Drain Water
Make sure you drain any water remaining in garden hoses, irrigation lines, water fountains and similar ornamental decorations that contain water. Another key place to remove and shut off water are the spigots around your house. Water left in any of the places mentioned will freeze, expand and cause damage. Cracking pipes can lead to interior flooding, a disaster that’s easy to avoid.
Aeration takes place when holes are made throughout the surface of a lawn. This procedure is done to break up the surface, reduce compaction and allow water and nutrients to get down into the root zone. The best type of aeration is mechanical. It can be done professionally or by renting a machine from your local home store and doing yourself. Aerators are pricey so in most cases renting is the most logical option.
Applying fertilizer is a key component to having a beautiful and happy lawn. The fall is a crucial time to fertilize allowing your lawn to get the nutrients it needs. High phosphorous fertilizers are key when coming into the colder months. Phosphorus encourages root growth and will give you a rich green lawn when spring rolls around. You’ll than be one step ahead of the game. If you want more information on fertilizers than look at this.
8. Rake And Remove
The dreaded job of many is leaf removal. If you don’t have many trees around your lucky. Removing fallen leaves is important for a couple of reasons. First is aesthetics, a yard free of sticks and leaves looks nicer. Second is health; leaves, sticks and other debris will decompose over the winter months and add to the thatch layer in your lawn which suffocates and prevents water and nutrients from getting to the root zone.
9. Mowing One Last Time
Leaving your lawn long throughout the winter isn’t the best idea. Not only will it hold onto leaves and debris blown around but it will also take longer to dry out come the spring. Mowing your lawn on a lower setting one last time is beneficial. Fall is a great time to get good deals on lawn mowers as companies are clearing out their inventory. Read this to learn more about mowers and where to find the best deals.
10. Dead Head And Divide
Removing flowers that are done blooming is beneficial to plants. Also, dividing plants makes them healthier while giving you double or triple the plants for free. Many homeowners skip this step due to lack of knowledge. Plants like Hosta and ornamental grasses are excellent candidates for this procedure. Not all species will fit the criteria so find out which ones are and get dividing!
11. Cold Protection
Wrap cold sensitive plants in burlap or fabric. Pay attention to windy areas as temps can fall much lower in these areas and plants can get burnt. Any potted plants that don’t like freezing temps should be moved indoors if possible.
12. Plant Bulbs, Shrubs, and Fall Annuals.
Certain plants and bulbs prefer to be planted in the fall months. Bulbs like hyacinth that pop in the spring need to be planted in the fall. To add some color to your fall garden plant things like pansies, mums, kale and cabbage. Plants like these will brighten up any dreary spot in your garden.
13. Clean And Sharpen
When things slowdown in the fall it’s the perfect time to take care of the tools that have been put hard to work all season. Cleaning of your tools with a disinfectant and wire brush is a great step to take. Also sharpening your hand pruners, loppers and lawn mower blades is crucial when it comes to property maintenance.
By following this checklist you’ll be fully prepared for the winter months and one step ahead of the game come the spring. If you have any fall tips that we missed we would love to hear about them in the comment section below. We hope these fall tips makes this amazing time of year even better!