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Fall Yard Work Checklist
All summer you mowed, watered and weeded. But your job is not over once the calendar turns to fall. In fact, autumn is the best time to take action if you want to preserve all the money and time you put into your yard.
Your fall checklist should include:
Fertilize. Using a good fertilizer can help your lawn store up nutrients for its long dormancy and be ready to look lush in the spring. Choose the right fertilizer for your type of grass and your climate, and then apply according to the manufacturer’s suggestion.
Kill broad-leaf weeds. Dandelions, ivy and similar weeds are annoying and hard to kill. But they are most susceptible to weed killers in the fall. Again, choose a good broad-leaf weed killer and then follow the manufacturer’s directions.
Keep mowing. Even though your lawn is not growing as much, make sure to keep mowing until it is dormant.
Rake. This is the quintessential fall chore, and it is hard work. But if you don’t remove the leaves from your grass, they will decompose and make it hard for your grass to get a start in the spring. Fall is also a good time to dethatch and/or aerate your lawn.
Seed. You can put down grass seed on bare spots and toss some extra seed on spots where the grass is a little sparse. That gives your lawn a head start for summer.
Do some planting. Fall is a great time to plant – or transplant -- trees, shrubs and bulbs. Even though the air is cold, the soil stays warm long enough to allow root systems to establish.
Cut back plants. When your perennials start to turn brown, cut back the dead sections to promote new growth in the spring. This is also the time to dig up and divide perennials that have become overcrowded.
Protect plants against cold. Delicate plants such as roses are especially susceptible to damage from the cold. Cover the crown of the plant – the main part where it comes out of the ground and from which the branches come – with soil and mulch. If it gets really cold where you live, you might consider covering roses completely with a rose cone or other protection.
Mulch. One of your last chores before you tune up the snow blower should be to spread 2 or 3 inches of straw or mulch over your gardens and around the roots of trees and shrubs. That will help protect them against the winter.