The fall season is here, meaning the changing colors and falling leaves. Fall is a beautiful and majestic time, but it also means greater effort and activity to keep your yard clean and presentable. Cleaning yards is a simple task and can be made extra quick and effective with these tips and tricks.
Make Sure Your Yard is Free of Debris
It can be nice to look at fallen leaves as they pile onto your yard, but you should always be sure to clean leaves frequently during the fall months. It can be tempting to leave big, beautiful piles under trees and in your yard, but these can have long-lasting and unforeseen effects on your home and yard. For example, leave piles and other debris like felled branches make great homes for pests of all sorts, like fleas and other insects.
These critters also love to root themselves within flowerbeds, especially rose beds, because the foliage of these plants acts as a home for the disease. Over the winter, bugs and other insects love to nestle in mounds of dead leaves and other plant life, so be sure to remove all the debris you can see when the fall months come.
" Regular yard care is required to help maintain your lawn and ensure it can bounce back from things like bad weather conditions, weeds and infestations of insects and diseases. "
Maintain and Clean Your Vegetable Garden
Once fall hits, the final harvest is upon you. Take advantage of this time by removing your vegetables for the last time then removing debris and cleaning your garden. Unbeknownst to many, an additional layer of compost before the winter can help with new growth and foster health for plants to grow in the spring and summer seasons. Additionally, composting can keep your soil from degradation and other negative effects of the winter weather, such as freezes and reduced sunlight.
Take Care of All Branches
Fall is often when branches start to wither and die. These should be handled immediately to insure your house and cars are safe from falling damage. Many branches thrive during the summer and don’t need to be worried about, but it’s a different game in the winter. Branches should be pruned back to discourage overgrowth and an unhealthy weight. Additionally, the vibrancy and overall health of your branches will be improved by maintaining proper care of your trees, including pruning, proper watering, and composting if need be.
Ensure Your Gutters are Safe
Gutters are an overlooked but highly important piece of the yard safety process. Debris can pile up quickly and easily in your gutters, causing damage from additional and unnecessary weight. This weight, in turn, can cause damage to your gutters even the structural integrity of your roof.
In addition, you should never purchase gutter guards, as these usually mean additional costs in both cleaning and maintaining your gutters. Give your gutters a thorough clean to remove all debris and ensure there are no blockages stopping rain or other water sources from cleanly exiting your roof and transferring to the ground.
" When gutters and downspouts become clogged with debris, the water doesn’t magically go away. Instead, it can stay in place, eventually causing the gutters to sag or even detach from the house. Overflowing water causes trouble as well. "
Dry Your Equipment
Most don’t think twice about leaving their wet or water-based equipment out over the duration of winter, but this can be a costly mistake. Rainwater and internal moisture in these pieces of equipment can cause damage, as ice can cause stretching and cracking, and overall degradation.
To ensure your equipment is safe from the ravages of ice and other harsh elements during the winter, you should take care to dry out hoses, fountains, and drip irrigation systems. Once you’ve ensured your equipment is dried out, you should store the equipment in a dry place, safe from the elements, and untouched by the ravages of winter.
" Mowers are replaced every six years, on average, according to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, an industry trade group. But yours can last much longer than that with the right care. "
Aeration is Crucial
Aeration, breaking up the soil to prevent water from pooling, is a great way to avoid costly disasters at your house during the winter months. Aeration also provides key nutrients to your plants which will reach all the way down to the roots during the winter.
This process increases the likelihood that your plants will stay alive and be ready to thrive during the spring and summer months. Performing aeration doesn’t take any fancy or expensive equipment; rather, all you’ll need is a garden fork for small yards or a walk-behind aerator for larger yards. These should be available for rent from retail stores and online for a modest price.
" Almost all lawns will benefit from aeration, and a great lawn demands it. "
Give Your Lawn Life-Sustaining Nutrients
The key to having a yard that you can tend to and admire when winter is over is to feed it during the fall and winter months. Providing your lawn with essential nutrients is a great way to keep it healthy and long-lasting during your lifetime. The best fertilizers will contain a high amount of phosphorous which aids root growth and which will make your lawn lush, soft, and green in the spring.
Additionally, it’s always a great idea to rake your lawn early and often, as fallen leaves can easily suffocate your grass. As you rake, you can also mulch your plants and flower beds with the shredded leaf particles. You can even buy a mulching lawn mower for the most effective and quickest results imaginable.
" There are only three letters you need to know to have a high-quality lawn: NPK. These three letters represent the three main macronutrients for lawn care, Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). "
Mow One Last Time, for Safety
The great part about a winter lawn is never having to mow, but you should ensure your soil dries out quickly in the spring. To do this, set your mower to its lowest setting and give your lawn one more fresh, close buzz before winter arrives. Enjoy the feeling of the crisp air as you mow one final time before the cold fall air officially kicks in.
Once finished with this, you can start protecting your plants which may be more sensitive to the cold environment. Perennials, shrubs, and roses can’t survive well in the winter, so do everything in your power to keep them safe. Add mulch to the base of the plants and wrap them in cloth barriers to help prevent freezing. The amount of wrapping should be determined by how hardy your plants are to the cold; plants that are more sensitive should be wrapped in multiple blankets, but tough plants will only require one.
Protect Your Deck and Tools
Finally, the last steps you should take to ensure a smooth and safe transition through winter and into summer is to cover your deck and make sure your tools have been safely stored away. Mold and mildew can grow rapidly during the winter months, but they can be easily prevented with a good power washing on your deck.
A nice weatherproofing stain will ensure cleanliness through the winter and into the spring. You should also clean your gardening tools, rather than simply throwing them into the shed and forgetting them until the spring. A nice, thorough wash will prevent rust and keep them durable for longer.
The fall and winter months can be a nice break from the weekly routine of maintaining your garden, but there are a few steps you should take to ensure a safe and clean environment for the spring to arrive. Wash and clean your tools, prune your dying trees, and make sure your lawn is cut and cleaned of any debris which could harbor pests and suffocate your leaves.
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