‘Tis the season for football, apple cider, and pumpkins which means it is also the time of year for a fall clean-up. A proper fall cleanup ensures a more productive growing season next year with a healthier, green lawn and lush yard.

There are three key areas of your yard on which to focus, that require specific tasks:

Fall Cleanup Tips

The largest nuisance of fall is the constant upkeep of falling leaves. Raking up the hues of gold, red and orange takes time and energy to keep them under control, but if left on your lawn, they can suffocate the grass. Once your yard is cleared you can see bare patches that need repaired and plant new grass seed.

Aeration and de-thatching is the next step in preparing your lawn for the coming winter. De-thatching removes thatch, the debris beneath the grassy surface, which can deprive your lawn’s roots from air and water.  Now that your soil is decompressed, a phosphorous rich fertilizer will be most effective in strengthening your grass root system during the winter months. Mow your lawn while it is still growing. Once temperatures consistently drop below fifty degrees during the day, it is time to put your lawn mower away until the spring. Set your mower’s blades to their lowest setting for the final two cuts of the year (three inches high).

When attending to your trees and shrubs, concentrate on removing debris from around trees and shrubs, and place mulch at their base to provide a boost of nutrients for the plants. Mulch also helps with weed control and keeps roots warm. Attend to removing any dead, diseased, or damaged wood.  Depending on the plant specimen, major pruning that will be removed close to or above 30 percent of plants foliage should be done during the plant’s dormant period.

Fall Planting

Fall is an ideal time to plant new shrubs and trees with the cool temperatures and moist soil. Get them in the ground six weeks before the first frost. This gives them time to establish a root system before dormancy.

The first task for any type of garden, vegetable, or flower, is the removal of depleted plants and all weeds. Raking garden beds ensures removal of any remaining weed seeds and makes for a smooth, clean surface. Cut down stalks of perennials. Keep sensitive perennials protected through cold days with adding mulch to the plants’ base and wrapping them in cloth barriers.  Now is the best time to plant those hardy fall bulbs.