Fall leaves with rake

Summer has officially made way for fall, which means it’s time to get your yard and landscaping prepared for the dormant cold that winter brings for many plants and trees.

Following is a quick rundown of tasks you might want to add to your to-do list before Jack Frost starts nipping at your toes–and your roses. (Or you can always have us do the work for you.)

  • Trim off any dead tree limbs hanging around. Please leave the big jobs to the professionals (ask us if you need help) for safety. But feel free to prune smaller dead branches yourself.
  • Rake, collect and compost fallen leaves. As pretty as autumn leaves are to look at when they’re still on trees, they can suffocate your lawn if you let them accumulate and sit over the winter. By raking and composting your leaves, you’ll help your grass breathe and create a nice free, natural fertilizer for your garden next spring. Here’s a great beginner’s guide to composting from Organic Gardening.
  • Pamper your lawn one last time. Mow the grass down to a relatively short length (about 1 1/4 inches). You might also want to aerate, especially if rain tends to pool in parts of your yard. Then feed the lawn one final healthy “meal” for the year to encourage roots and get greener grass earlier in the spring.
  • Clean out old annuals and trim back your perennials. Clearing up dead plants helps keep pests away (and they make for great composting material, too). Trimming perennials allows for new growth to sprout more easily in spring.
  • Plant new trees and shrubs. Contrary to what you might think, the cool of fall is actually an ideal time to add to your landscaping. Trees and shrubs should be planted in the fall after they have become dormant (about early November) or in the spring before new growth appears (around late March). Make sure you follow proper planting techniques when adding something new to your landscape — these tips from the West Virginia University Extension Service will help.
  • Winterize your sprinkler and hose systems. Don’t let freezing temperatures burst your pipes or sprinkler tubing. Shut off the water to your outdoor systems and fill pipes and tubing with pressurized air to prevent problems this winter.
  • Plant bulbs to bloom in the spring. If you think ahead and get those bulbs in the ground now, you’ll enjoy more blooming color come spring.
  • Put away your landscaping tools and summer furniture. Organize, clean and sharpen your gardening tools, clean up your shed or garage, and make sure everything is ready for spring. Store your patio tables and chairs, umbrellas and any other summer outdoor decor that harsh weather could damage.

It’s a big list, but worth doing to keep your lawn and landscaping in tip-top shape. If you need advice or help with anything landscaping- or garden-related, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to help!