Fall Yard Clean Up
Temperatures are cooling, leaves are changing and dropping to the ground - fall is officially here. While your yard and garden are probably the farthest thing from your mind at the moment, there are some tasks that you can take on to help prep your yard and plants for the long winter months ahead.
1) Clean up debris. It's important to do a general yard clean up to ensure pests and disease don't hunker down over the winter. Depending how many trees you have in your yard, this can be a quick or time consuming task. Piling all your leaves onto a tarp is a handy method that will prevent you from taking multiple trips. You can also try raking leaves into rows for easy bagging.
Tip: before freezing temperatures begin, run your lawn mower over a pile of leaves and let them settle back into the grass as an all natural fertilizer.
2) Unclog and rinse gutters. This is very important to do before freezing temperatures begin, and you can no longer remove the debris due to it being frozen! You can either use a ladder and manually remove the leaves and other debris. Alternatively, and preferably, use a gutter attachment for your hose so you can clean your gutters with your feet placed safely on the ground.
3) Tend to garden beds. The best thing you can do to over winter your plants is to water them well prior to freezing temperatures. This creates an ice ball around the roots, allowing the plants to draw water in case warmer temperatures arise. Depending on your plants, you may want to do a fall fertilization and apply mulch (fallen leaves, straw, pine needles, grass clippings etc.). This would also be a good time to prune back any branches on trees/shrubs that are dead, damaged or diseased.
4) Sharpen and clean tools, then store. Now is the time to inspect all the tools you used throughout the summer months. Does anything need to be sharpened or replaced? Make sure you sanitize gardening equipment, and tuck away in a safe, dry location.
5) Drain and dry. To prevent damage to your equipment, drain and dry your hose, drip irrigation system, or any other equipment that uses water. Make sure you store your equipment in a dry location too!
6) Pressure wash concrete and your deck. If you don't have a pressure washer, you can rent one from your local hardware store. Pressure washing your concrete and patio surfaces will help prevent mildew and mold from forming. Don't forget to add weather proofing stains or sealants to wooden decks to increase their durability and longevity.