It's the middle of September and the leaves are starting to fall and change color. Here in Colorado everyone loves this time of year. A drive up the mountains to see all of the beautiful colors and the 70 degree weather. But this season also has a con. Leaves are falling and they make a major mess. Sometimes I wonder just how many more leaves are going to fall from my trees. It's never ending. And when you think you have your yard all done, the next day your yard is covered with leaves from your neighbors tree. We all have that neighbor who has that massive tree and every fall the leaves cover the entire neighborhood.
Why Do A Fall Clean-up?
Fall clean-ups help protect plants, mitigate winter damage and reduce weed pressure in the spring. In fact, now is the time to aerate your lawn as well. Besides the obvious, cleaning up your leaves helps keep the yard clean and from your animals tracking in even more debris. While you are doing your fall clean-up and getting rid of those leaves, here are a few other things you should do at the same time.
1. Clean up the vegetable garden
After your final harvest, pull out the old plants and remove the debris. If you compost, now is the time to add a layer of compost to help nurture your soil for planting next spring.
2. Trim your trees
Trim the dead, damaged or dead branches you didn't get to this summer. Prune out of place tree branches that may cause trouble during the winter.
3. Clean out your gutters
Most landscapers who are doing fall clean-ups don't do 2 things that needs to be done . Clean out the gutters and pick up the dog poop. Fall is the perfect time to clean out those gutters. Check for any damage or drain issues.
4. Dry everything out
Drain all water from the hoses, fountains, and drip irrigation systems and store in a dry place.
Now's the time to break up the soil to help keep water from pooling and guarantee that nutrients will reach the roots over the winter. A garden fork will do the job for small yards, but for larger yards may require a walk-behind aerator, which should be available to rent.
6. Feed your lawn
Make sure your yard gets the nutrients it needs to survive the long, cold sleep. Add a fall lawn fertilizer with high phosphorous content to encourage root growth and enjoy a lush, beautiful green lawn come spring.
7. Rake and mulch
The leaves are falling and causes unwanted work for you. don't let them get the best of you; if left unattended they will suffocate the grass. Rake them up, shred them, and use them as mulch for young trees, shrubs, and flower beds. You could even skip the raking part if you use a lawn mower to mulch the leaves in your yard.
8. Prune trees and shrubs
Trim any dead branches and cut back the overgrown trees and branches. If you have spring-blooming perennials like lilac or forsythia, now is the time to prune without risking blooms.
9. Give it one last mow
Set your mower to a low setting and give your lawn a shorter than normal buzz cut before winter sets in. This helps the soil dry out faster in the spring, which leads to a lusher lawn.
10. Protect your deck
Prevent the growth of mold and mildew by giving your deck a good power wash. If you don't have a power washer, you can rent one or hire a company. Many Mobile Pressure Washing companies to choose from. Once your deck or patio is clean and dried out, add a weather proofing stain to protect the wood from moisture damage over the winter.