Fall is a pivotal time for lawn and garden care. If you want a beautiful spring yard that’s a masterpiece, there are important steps to take now to ensure everything from grass to gardenias bloom.
In fact, experts say there are five steps every yard or garden enthusiast should take in the fall - but many don’t. Here is an inside look at these important tips to help you prepare your yard and garden this fall:
1. Fertilize in the fall
While many homeowners are tuned in to fertilizing their lawns in the spring, late summer through mid fall is really the most important time to fertilize. Fertilizers rich in slow-release nitrogen promote strong roots and long lasting results. Fertilizing at the beginning of fall helps the grass recover from the stresses of summer and begins the process of strengthening the roots for next year.
2. Make your own mulch
When collected and added to a compost pile, leaves make great mulch. Leaves are a great high-carbon addition to the compost pile. Specifically, leaf mold can be a great soil amendment — it results from layering fall leaves with other organic matter like fruit and vegetable peels or eggshells.
3. Plant bulbs deep
A common mistake made when planting flower bulbs is placing them too shallow. For best results, plant in the early fall, and place them two to three times as deep as they are tall to give them the best chance of living through the winter.
4. Lengthen the life of your plants
Some plants that many consider seasonal can really survive year after year. For example, if taken care of correctly, mums can add color every fall to your flowerbeds. Planting mums using a plant food prior to ground freeze allows roots to establish. For added protection against potentially harsh winter elements, surround the base of the plant with two inches of bark mulch or collected fall leaves.
5. Save perennial pruning for spring
Gardeners are divided on when to prune perennials — spring or fall. While there is not one universal answer, experts recommend holding on pruning cold-killed foliage until spring. Research has found that the crumbling dead foliage helps insulate plants and increase their cold tolerance.