October Landscape Maintenance Tips
Happy Autumn! A very special thanks goes to this month’s guest writer, Matt from kebony.com, a Norwegian company which aims to be the “leading wood brand and technology organization.”
From Lawnaholic: Some people think that it’s not important to maintain your lawn during colder months, but that is absolutely not true. Being able to keep many aspects of your yard in tip-top shape will help ease into Spring with better soil and growth.
The content below is all about October (and other fall months) Landscaping Tips —
Spring and summer are naturally the busiest months for landscape care but don’t stop regular maintenance and lawn care just because fall has arrived. It is all too common for novice homeowners and property managers to become lax on fall maintenance which only leaves more work to be done come spring.
Remember – the work you put into your landscape in the fall will pay off come spring when the snow has melted. Most of normal fall maintenance involves simple, but important, care that will help ensure your property comes through winter looking great.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind while caring for your property in early to mid fall:
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Don’t Stop Mowing Just Because Grass Growth Has Slowed
Grass growth slows down quite a bit in the fall but that doesn’t mean you should completely stop mowing. While you won’t need to mow very often you should mow if the length of the grass gets too long. There is a bit of a sweet spot for grass length in the fall. To ensure the grass survives and regrows you’ll want it to be at least 2″ tall. However, once you get to 3″ or more you risk the grass matting together which can mold once snow falls.
Don’t forget to check grass length around decking as well. You should mow here or weedwack if you find the grass or weeds are touching, especially if you have a wood deck as they are more sensitive to pest and moisture damage.
Stay on Top of Leaf and Debris Removal
Raking up leaves is the most obvious fall landscaping chore, but it’s important to routinely rake up leaves as they cover the ground rather than allowing them to sit until the last minute. Leaving leaves and other debris to sit can kill grass and groundcover fairly quickly. Wet leaves and debris can also potentially cause mold or fungus growth under the pile.
Be sure to safely dispose of leaves, branches, and other organic debris safely. In some areas it’s customary, and even somewhat traditional, to burn leaves. This can potentially be unsafe, not to mention it is a waste of a potentially useful organic matter. A better idea is to compost the leaves. If you live in a rural area, go the eco-friendly route and move the leaves on the outskirts of your property for insects and wildlife to use.
Use This Opportunity to Reseed or Start a New Lawn
Early fall is a great time to reseed your lawn or rip out your old lawn to start a new one. Many people make the mistake of reseeding in the spring, which often isn’t the most effective time to be replanting. Reseeding during the fall helps ensure that the seeds themselves can properly take hold in the soil and not be disrupted by family activities on the lawn or heavy snow. Come spring time you will see more growth and healthier grass.
Keep in mind that if you live in a very cold climate you may need to reseed fairly early on in September. Those in more regions with mild winters may be able to reseed as late as November.
Deep Water Shrubs, Hedges and Trees Right Before First Freeze
Depending on your gardening zone there is going to be a “sweet spot” of time between the time deciduous trees or shrubs go dormant and when the ground begins to freeze. This period of time is ideal for deep water around any trees, shrubs, hedges, etc. Thoroughly saturating this foliage will help them get through winter more easily. Just be sure to do this deep watering before the ground begins to freeze as watering combined with freezing ground may have the opposite effect.
Drain Water Systems and Irrigation Hoses
Late October, or earlier depending on when your region hits freezing temperatures at night, is a great time to drain out any irrigation hoses or watering systems around your landscape. You should also shut off outdoor water lines at night. This is a common practice in cooler climates but may not be common sense for everyone. Clearing out irrigation lines and watering systems may need to be done with compressed air to ensure all water is out.
Water trapped in hoses can freeze, expand and bust the lines, leaving you with a mess to clean up in the spring. Failing to shut off outdoor water lines in outbuildings can also cause pipes to break. To be safe, whenever your forecast shows freezing temperatures at night it’s time to consider draining hoses and turning off outdoor water lines.
Clean Off Walkways and Tidy Around Outbuildings
Part of landscaping maintenance includes caring for boardwalks, pathways, gazebos, and any other outbuildings. Allowing leaves or dirt to sit on walkways, especially on wood, can lead to algae or fungus growth and staining. If you live in a region that gets snow, the combination of snow (and ice) on top of loose debris on walkways is potentially a very dangerous slipping hazard as well. Ensure pathways are clear and outbuildings are prepared for winter.
When you properly maintain your landscape throughout fall you are ensuring that all the hard work you put into your property will once again pay off come spring.