Autumn gardening tips
Seasonal gardening tasks
On behalf of, and with our thanks to Clara Beaufort
& Isabella Caprario
Preparing for Winter: Autumn Yard Maintenance Tips
Image via Pixabay
If your lawn and garden are your pride and joy, you cannot skimp on autumn maintenance. If you don’t take the preemptive measures to take care of them before winter hits, you will have triple the work come spring. Fortunately, there are various things you can do come autumn to lessen the workload and protect your yard.
Keep Calm and Mow On
Just because the temperature is dropping doesn’t mean you need to put your lawnmower in storage. In fact, you should continue to water and mow until the season begins to draw to a close. Cutting your grass before the first freeze allows more sunlight to reach the part of the grass blades so it can retain more nutrients in the root. Change your mower blade settings to its lowest setting. You want the least amount of leaf to be exposed so less material browns on the stalk.
Rake It In
Raking leaves is necessary for the health of your yard. Removing dead leaves from your yard prevents them from blocking the sun and suffocating your grass. If dead leaves stay on the ground, they break down with moisture to form an impenetrable paste that suffocates grass and creates a breeding ground for fungus.
If you absolutely hate raking leaves, there is an easier way. Some lawnmowers pulverise leaves into mulch that feed your soil instead of blocking sunlight. Find a machine with an aggressive, high-lift mulching blade for the best performance.
Let It Breathe
Autumn is the perfect time to aerate your lawn. Aerating your lawn allows water, oxygen, and fertiliser to reach the roots of your grass so it can better survive the winter. If you plan on aerating your lawn yourself, there are a few things you will need to do:
Water your lawn one or two days before you plan on aerating.
Rent a mechanical core aerator from a garden center.
Spread compost over aerated lawn to fill in holes and add nutrition to lawn.
Plant Evergreens and Shrubs
Autumn is the perfect time to plant evergreen plants and shrubs. They need to establish their roots in these months before the winter freezes begin. In addition to evergreens and shrubs, there are other things that you should plant in these transitional months:
Spring bulbs including daffodils, dog’s tooth violet, and glory-of-the-snow
Cool season vegetables such as lettuce, radishes, and kale
Autumn Flowers for Pollinators
While you may think summer provides plenty of pollen for bees and other pollinators, the truth is that increasing temperatures and drier climates lead to summer pollen dearth. To help combat dearth, plant autumn pollinator flowers in your garden and around your yard to help refill their supplies so they can survive the winter. Some great flowers for pollinators include:
Joe Pye weed
Autumn Joy sebum
Start Autumn Composting
This is the perfect time of year to start your compost heap for the upcoming seasons. Autumn leaves are the perfect base and there should be plenty falling into your yard. It’s also the beginning of the busiest cooking season in your home so you’ll have plenty of food scraps to add. A three-section compost system is perfect for home composting. One section should be designated for fresh ingredients just beginning to break down. The second section is for compost that is still decomposing. The third section is designated for compost ready to use when you are.
Autumn is a crucial time for both lawn and garden care. Just because the weather is getting cooler doesn’t mean you should stop cutting and watering your lawn. Doing so in conjunction with regular raking will allow sun and oxygen to reach the soil so you garden is healthy in the spring. Autumn is also the perfect time for planting evergreens, shrubs, and flowers to help pollinators survive the winter. It’s also the best time for beginning your compost piles… especially since you’ll have tons of organic materials to throw out come the holidays.