The following fall yard maintenance tips are recommended by Roger Cook, the landscaping specialist on the show This Old House.
Aerate the lawn
Pooling water during the winter can harm the root systems of some lawns. It’s a good idea to aerate the lawn so water has some place to go and nutrients can reach the roots. You can use a garden fork for small areas but for larger lawns and gardens, rent a walk-behind machine that will pull 3″ plugs from the soil. These will break down over the winter and by spring the lawn will be ready for seed and fertilizer. Port Hardy receives a lot of rain during the winter months and a well-aerated lawn is important.
A high phosphorous mix like 12-25-12 will ensure that the roots will have the nutrients they need for faster growth in the spring.
Mow a final time
A good cutting in the fall limits the damage from disease. A short cut ensures that leaves will blow off the lawn and not get snagged. Lower the mower deck to give a cut around 1.25″. Don’t go too short, though, because grass gets it energy from the top part of the blade.
Collect the leaves and annuals
This task is made easier by using a large tarp to collect and then drag to a compost area. Leaves are excellent compost and with a few turns of a pitch fork over the winter, they will decompose into a rich fertilizer that you can use on your garden.
Plant new shrubs
This is the time of year to add to the greenery in your yard. Fall is the ideal time to plant because the cooler temperatures are kinder to the shrub compared to warmer weather. They can put down some roots and in the spring will green up quicker.
Trim dead limbs and perenials
Heavy snow and ice can damage trees and shrubs if a dead limb is torn or breaks off poorly. For big jobs, call the professionals to trim back trees that might shed limbs during high winds. It’s cheaper to pay a tree trimmer than higher insurance premiums.
Mulch young plants
A good bed of mulch insulates and protects young plants from harsh weather. Aim for a maximum of 4″, applied before the first frost. Organic mulch will break down over the winter months, enriching the soil.
Purge the sprinklers
Fall is the time to purge sprinklers and underground watering systems to protect them from freezing that can shorten their lifespan.
Call Merrilee Tognela for more information on fall yard maintenance and to list your Port Hardy home for sale!
Original article: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/fall-landscaping-checklist