Fall Yard Chores: Get a Head Start on the Spring

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In my last blog post, I wrote about pulling up annual plants, judging which ones did well, cutting back perennials and mulching instead of raking your leaves. Here are some other chores to finish before winter sets in:

If you have a sprinkler system and haven’t had it blown out yet, time is rapidly running out.

Apply one more fertilization for the fall. For warm season grasses, you want to use a fertilizer that has very little nitrogen in it. For cool-season grasses, you want to apply a fertilizer that contains a high percentage of nitrogen.

If the temperatures are in the mid 50’s or above, plants will still be photosynthesizing, which means you can still control broadleaf weeds. This is the time of year to spray the difficult to control weeds, like wild violets or ground ivy. As these plants move food into their roots, the weed control will also be moved, working to control these weeds so that they will be less of a problem next year.

Fall is a great time to root feed your trees and shrubs. The best way to do this is to use a root feeder. You can purchase a root feeder at many hardware stores or home improvement centers, although most people hire a professional tree care company like Spring-Green to do the work for them.

Fall is also a great time to clean up your lawn mower. Many hardware stores provide this service, or you can do it yourself. If your mower has a 4-cycle engine, drain and replace the oil. Clean out the underside of the deck and scrape out the built up grass. Remove and sharpen the mower blade. Add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank so that it is ready to go next spring.

Finally, be sure to unscrew your garden hose from the spigot. I live in an area where temperatures often dip well below freezing, so I have to make sure I turn off the water inside so that the pipes do not freeze.

Fall always is a sad time in regards to gardening, at least for those of us that live in the northern climates. Spring will return before we know it and the whole process starts again. I can’t wait for the first of the seed catalogs and gardening fliers to start arriving in January.

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