As the temperature starts to drop and fall approaches, there are plenty of autumn cleanup projects that you’ll want to perform at this time of year.
Aside from the annuals that will surely wither and die when the first frost hits your region, the remaining perennials prepare for dormancy. The cool weather is a good time to get the gardens, bushes and trees prepared for the upcoming bitter cold so that your gardens will rejuvenate when spring returns. The same holds true for your property, whether it’s aerating your lawn, cleaning windows, gutters, chimney sweep, leaf raking and disposal or shutting down you outside water systems.
Mulch it Up
Chances are that the mulch you placed in the gardens in spring has deteriorated during the summer months, so it’s important to add a new layer of mulch in fall to protect plants and soil over the winter season. By adding additional mulch now, you keep the soil warmer, but more importantly you maintain an even temperature throughout the soil.
Perennials & Bulbs
Fall is a great time to divide perennials. Begin this process about six weeks ahead of the ground freezing. The candidates for division are those perennials that are clumped too close together and do not flower robustly any longer. Dividing is also good for those plants that show bare spots in the middle.
Autumn is a perfect time to think about getting your bulbs into the ground for a magnificent spring bloom. September and October are the ideal months to plant spring bulbs because the days are still clear blue and the ground is still warm and welcoming.
Shrubs & Trees
Winter can be extremely harsh on shrubs. Snow, wind, rain and ice can wreak havoc on the delicate branches; hence, it’s wise to prune some of the smaller, weaker branches as a preventative measure.
Prune dead or overlapping branches in the late fall to strengthen the tree and encourage new growth in the spring. For tender bark of young trees, wrap them with wire mesh, tree guards or the old standby burlap covers.
Aerating Your Lawn
The best time to aerate is during the growing season in early summer or early autumn, when the lawn is growing most actively. These times are best because the grass can easily heal by filling in any open areas after the plugs have been removed. Ideally, you should aerate the lawn with a cool season grass selection in the fall.
Having windows cleaned in the fall is very beneficial because leaves and debris falling from the trees cause the screens and windows to become very dirty. This grunge reduces the amount of sunlight that comes in the house to warm it during the chilling days of winter. When sunlight is reduced from entering your home, you will have to compensate by using more heat, which will increase your utility bills.
As the leaves start falling, your gutters should routinely be cleaned. Gutters are designed to help move water and debris away from your roof and home, but when they overflow with leaves they get clogged and create water damage as it allows the water to pool near your home. This can ruin the inside of your home and cause mold, mildew and decay on the ceilings or walls and weaken your home’s foundation. Clogged gutters can result in damage to your landscape in close proximity to your house due to debris accumulations.
Cleaning your chimney each year before winter arrives is something every responsible homeowner should get done and fall is a great time to do it. If you didn’t get around to doing it last year, be sure to have a certified chimney inspector come in during the fall before the hearth starts running regularly again this year. A clean fireplace improves air quality because it prevents smoke from blowing back into the house. This ensures that your family remains safe while using the fireplace, especially during winter months when doors and windows are shut.
Prep for Winter
Fall is the ideal time to prepare your property and home for the upcoming winter. For many, fall is the best time of year since the days are warm and nights cool for sleeping. By doing a good fall cleanup, your gardens and property will be ready for the following spring and you will reap the rewards of your effort.
Check out some more of our seasonal landscape tips in our blog section.