Autumn has arrived: the air is a little crisper, leaves are changing, and the winter months are just around the corner. Don’t put your garden tools away just yet though, because there are still things to do to get your yard ready for the fall and winter months ahead. Here are a few tips to ensure that your yard makes it through the winter.
Ideally, it’s a good idea to fertilize your grass four times a year, but that may not be realistic for those of us with busy schedules. If you’re a one-time-a-year fertilizer, fall is the time to do it as it will give your grass the nutrients and food the roots need to store throughout the winter months. Ask your local garden center what type of fertilizer is best for your grass type and soil conditions. Fertilize your lawn about three weeks prior to the last mowing of the season for best results.
Continue Your Watering Routine
Even though the sun isn’t quite as hot, you still need to maintain your watering routine until the first frost to allow your grass to recover from those hot summer months. Additionally, if you’re planning to fertilize as well, it will require watering to allow the nutrients to soak in. Make sure those leaves have been raked up prior to watering to avoid any grass rot.
The summer months can be tough on your lawn and you may notice that you’ve ended up with some bare patches. If so, now is a good time to reseed. Sprinkle grass seed in the bare areas, cover with a light layer of top soil and fertilizer, and give it a good watering. By establishing the grass roots in early fall, they’ll be strong enough to endure the frost and snow of winter.
Plant Your Bulbs
There’s nothing better than seeing bulbs sprouting in the spring, and now is the time to start planting your daffodils, tulips, dahlias, or any other bulbs that will make for a stunning spring garden. Bulbs do best when they are planted in soil with temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is typically October or November in southern Maryland. Make sure to plant them where they’ll have plenty of sun once spring arrives.
Prepare Plants for the Cold
Freezing temperatures can give your plants a shock, which can either stunt their growth or kill them. To protect your plants roots, apply 2-3 inches of mulch in your garden beds, as this will help to guard against extreme temperatures and will assist to keep the soil moist. For your more delicate bushes and trees such as crepe myrtles, hydrangeas, and azaleas, wrap the trunks with a material such as burlap or create a wind protection barrier with plastic or plant fabric.
Pack Up the Hoses
Prior to the first frost of the season, make sure your hoses have been drained and stored away otherwise they may freeze and crack. It’s also a good idea to blow out any excess water from your sprinkler system. You can easily hire a professional for this, or simply use your air compressor to get the job done.
Fall maintenance is important to make sure your lawn stays nice until winter is over. Once your fall maintenance is complete, pack up your garden tools and light a fire in the fire pit to enjoy the autumn colors in the trees around you. What is your fall maintenance routine?