Perform a Soil Test
Soil is the most important tool for healthy lawns and plants, yet it often gets overlooked. Test soil now for pH and nutrient levels so you have time to amend before spring. Learn more about soil pH and soil tests.
Rake and Recycle Leaves
Get a handle on leaves. The leaves in your yard make a fine no-cost mulch that will protect your plants through winter. You will need to shred leaves to encourage decomposition before using.
Here’s how to make mulch from leaves:
- Rake leaves into a pile.
- Follow all safety directions and wear gloves and eye protection before the next step.
- Use a leaf shredder to grind leaves, catching the pieces in a bag or large container.
- Or rake the leaves into a wide layer a couple of inches high. Pass over the leaves a few times with a lawn mower, mowing them into smaller and smaller pieces. Rake the pieces into a bag or large container.
- Pile the shredded leaves two to four inches deep around plants. Keep the mulch one inch away from plant crowns. Do not volcano mulch; mulching up to the stems can kill the plant.
Mow the Grass One Last Time
Cut your lawn one last time before the winter. Trim it as short as possible to prevent matting, disease and rodent damage. Finish by prepping your mower for winter. Change the oil, inspect the spark plug and run the mower until it’s out of gas. Find out how to winterize your lawn mower and more maintenance tips.
Reseed the Lawn
Fall is the best time to aerate and reseed tired and stressed summer lawns. Generally, you will use three pounds of seed for every 1,000 square feet of lawn. Learn how to grow grass.
Turn and Add Mulch
Garden beds typically need a blanket of new mulch every three years. Simply “fluffing up” mulch gives garden beds a fresh look, allows water to reach plants’ roots more easily and reduces insects and diseases. If adding new mulch, be sure your new layer is between two and three inches thick.
Give Hardscapes Some TLC
Your landscape’s curb appeal includes the driveway, any patios and walkways. Fall is the best time to fill in cracks and apply a sealant to help prevent damage from freezing and thawing. It’s also the time to pressure wash surfaces. Learn more about renting pressure washers and other tools from the Tool Rental Center.
For the Birds
One of the best ways to enjoy wildlife in winter is to watch birds at a feeder. You’ll be amazed at the varieties that visit throughout the year. Place feeders in a safe location where you can see them. Select the right bird feeder for your landscape.