Fall landscape care checklist:
1. Fertilize lawn
2. Remove annuals
3. Cutback perennials
4. Mulch garden beds
5. Water shrubs and trees
6. Protect delicate shrubs
7. Rake leaves
8. Blow out irrigation systems
SUMMIT COUNTY – Summer is over, but there’s still a lot to do to prepare your yard for winter. Your to-do list should include tasks for your lawn, garden, shrubs and trees.
Begin by fertilizing your lawn soon, if you haven’t already done so this fall. Natural fertilizers are particularly beneficial at this time of year. Not only do they release nutrients into the ground slowly, improving the health of your soil, they should also increase your lawn’s hardiness and accelerate spring green-up.
If your soil looks hard and compacted, consider aerating your lawn, too. Aerating combats soil compaction by placing small, evenly-spaced holes throughout your lawn, allowing oxygen, nutrients and moisture into your lawn’s root area. It also reduces thatch, or dead grass.
Remove any remaining plant material from your annual beds and turn over the soil. It may be tempting to turn the plants into the soil, but doing so can invite disease next season.
Prepare your perennial beds by cutting back the dead flowers and stalks. Help protect your perennials from the cold by covering the soil with mulch.
If you have delicate shrubs in areas where they may be damaged by falling or stored snow, you can protect them by building a lean-to.
Make sure to water your shrubs and trees regularly throughout the autumn, including one deep watering before the ground freezes. This will decrease damage or loss from winterkill. (Winterkill refers to stress from lack of water, low humidity and cold temperatures during the winter.)
You can also protect your evergreens from winterkill by spraying them with an anti-desiccant, such as Wilt-Pruf, while daytime temperatures remain above 50 degrees. Anti-desiccants minimize moisture lost through the needles when trees are unable to replace the water through their roots.
It’s a good idea to rake up and remove aspen leaves. There are several fungi prevalent in Summit County that infect aspen. Their spores will overwinter in the fallen leaves and infect other trees, if not removed.
It’s also an ideal time to check your lodgepole pines for signs of mountain pine beetle and remove newly infected trees. Due to the large-scale beetle infestation in Summit County, many companies that remove and spray trees are overwhelmed in the spring. Doing the work now ensures you’ll get the job done before the beetles infect new trees next year.
Lastly, be sure to prevent frozen pipes by blowing out your irrigation system, draining hoses and turning off the water to your outdoor spigots.
Winterizing your landscape can take time, but it’s worth it. Doing so will reduce winter’s damages and the time spent repairing them in the spring – leaving you more time for gardening.