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Tips & Tricks for a Fall Landscape

Posted on October 7, 2020 by Lawn Doctor

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When the fall season starts to turn to winter, you know it’s time to start getting your yard and garden ready. Preparing your lawn and garden in the autumn helps you to enjoy your lawn in the spring and summer. The grass will be greener and healthier with a little fall-time help. You’ll want to prepare your grass for the cold, but you’ll also want to prepare the rest of your yard, not just the grass. Here are some fall landscaping ideas and tips to get your yard and garden ready this fall.

Clean the Gutters

When you’re getting ready for winter, you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss the gutters. Throughout the year—and especially in the autumn—leaves and other debris build up. Leaving this debris in the gutter over the winter can lead to clogged gutters as well as potential damage to the gutters. Here are some tips for cleaning gutters: 

  • Try using a plumber’s snake. You can use one of these tools to reach far into the gutter and remove all the debris and accumulated fall leaves. 
  • Try using an old plastic spatula. For the gutters that run along the roof of your home, try using an old spatula to remove the debris. Slide the spatula along the gutter and push the leaves out. 

Cut Back Plants

Not all plants need to be cut back during the fall. Annuals should be removed from the garden, and evergreen trees and shrubs will flourish on their own. But during the fall, your perennial plants will be preparing to go dormant for the winter. These are the plants you’ll want to trim and prep for winter. Here are some tips for cutting back plants to prepare for the next spring:

  • Wait to trim until after a few hard frosts. When you trim plants before they’re dormant, it’ll encourage new growth. If you trim the plants before it’s cold, this new growth is then killed by winter cold. But if you wait until after a few hard frosts, you’ll be able to cut your plants back and keep them neat and healthy. 
  • Try pruning shears or garden scissors. These tools can help you cut through perennial branches or thin stalks of certain grasses. Cut plants to 3 inches above the ground.
  • If your yard is prone to disease, don’t compost the foliage. For most plants, it can be beneficial to compost what you cut off, but if the plants are prone to disease, you should discard it. Composting it will only spread the disease to more plants. 

Plant Bulbs

A fall landscape is never complete with a pop of color to look forward to. Autumn is an ideal time to plant bulbs before the ground freezes. Flowers like daffodils, tulips, crocuses, and other similar blooms flourish when you plant them in the fall. Then they’ll bloom in the spring and provide your yard and garden with a pop of color. Here are some tips for your bulbs in the autumn:

  • Plant bulbs while it’s cool but before the ground freezes. You don’t want to have to dig through the frozen ground, so make sure you plant bulbs before the frosts. 
  • Use your tender bulbs for another year. Instead of treating these tender bulb flowers as annuals, collect the bulbs once the tops freeze and save them for the next year. Put the bulbs in containers and into cool storage and water once a month. They’ll be ready to plant again in the spring. 
  • Check where you live to find the best times to plant and the best flowers to plant. Find the flowers that grow well in your area and plant them in the fall for the next spring. Watch for the season to plant the bulbs during as well. 

Drain Garden Hoses

Garden hoses aren’t often the highest priority when prepping your yard during the fall. Very often, people leave a little water inside their hoses. Most of the time, a little water in the hose won’t do any harm. But occasionally, the frozen water in a garden hose will split the hose open and ruin it. To save yourself from having to replace your garden hoses in the spring, drain them in the fall. Here are a few tips: 

  • Stretch the hoses out on a slope. You can spread the hose across a slope in your yard or driveway and let the water drip out of it. This method may take a little time to drain the hose completely. 
  • Try using an air compressor. If you have access to an air compressor, try using it to blow the water out of the hoses quickly and effectively. 
  • If using a drip system, disconnecting the hose from the water source and using low pressure, high volume air compressor will push the remaining water out of the drip lines.

Seed and Fertilize

As you are preparing your fall landscape it is important to fertilize your lawn for the final time. If you have cool-season grass like Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, or tall fescue, fertilizing between September and November is typically the best time so you can see the best results in spring and summer. With warm-season grasses like bermudagrass, centipedegrass, or bahiagrass, you will want to fertilize a little earlier than other types of grass.


Cut Your Grass

One of the most important parts of a successful fall landscape is keeping your grass at the perfect length. That means mowing one final time is a key step. Generally, you want to keep your grass around 2 to 2 ¼ inches tall. This ensures that your grass does not get too long and mat down which can lead to lawn disease which can be hard to fix. Though, you don’t want it too short either as it can inhibit the grass’s ability to make food during the winter. As will all things home, garden, and lawn, it’s about finding a reasonable balance.

These are some fall landscape ideas to prep your yard for the winter. Even with landscaping tips, preparing your fall landscape can be a lot of work and difficult to fit into your busy schedule. If you find yourself unsure of how to handle getting your yard ready for cold or you just want some extra support, check out our annual programs and get a free quote for our lawn services!

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