Autumn is a busy time of year for any homeowner. With the leaves starting to fall, it’s time to kick into overdrive to get ready for the winter ahead. Use these fall home maintenance tips to make sure your landscape is at its best throughout the winter months so that it’ll be ready to go for spring.
The Perfect Time to Aerate Your Lawn
Aeration is important for long-term lawn health. It loosens hard-packed soil, which makes it easier for your lawn to develop healthy roots. Aeration also helps water and fertilizer absorb into the soil more efficiently, which promotes lush growth. The downsideof lawn aeration is that the aerator cuts plugs of soil out of your lawn and scatters them everywhere. When you aerate your lawn in the fall, those plugs will break down over the winter so that you don’t have an unsightly mess in the spring.
Dealing with All Those Leaves
For many people, fall home maintenance means endless raking. Instead of raking and bagging all those leaves, or worse, burning them, use them to feed your landscape. You can either compost the leaves, or you can mulch them up with your mower. If you choose to mulch them, make sure to spread the chopped up leaves evenly throughout your yard so that you don’t have dead spots in the spring. Over the winter, the mulched leaves will break down and provide valuable nutrients for your grass.
Get Your Lawn and Garden Equipment Ready for Storage
Lawn mowers, chain saws, weed eaters — all of your power equipment needs to be prepared for the long winter ahead. A great fall home maintenance tip is to start by cleaning your lawn equipment thoroughly, making sure to remove any grass clippings or debris that could cause rust. Clean out air filters, drain out gasoline and make sure everything is properly lubricated. Winterizing your equipment the right way will ensure that you get a head start on your spring landscaping.
Take Care of Patio Umbrellas and Awnings
If you have sun shades, patio umbrellas or awnings, fold them up before the leaves start to fall. Piles of wet leaves can create several problems, like stains, stretched canvas and weakened supports. As you’re taking down awnings, shades and umbrellas, use WD40 or a similar product to keep all moving parts working freely. As the sun goes down, these patio umbrellas and sun shades will not be necessary and it good fall home maintenance practice to clean and move them in prior to winter.
If possible, store your shades in the garage or another protected location. This will prevent unnecessary weathering, and it will keep your canvas safe from local wildlife — folded canvas and plastic makes a desirable winter shelter for mice, chipmunks and other small animals.
Now’s the Time to Seed and Feed Your Lawn
Grass doesn’t grow that well in hot weather, which is why autumn is a great time to seed bare patches and feed the rest of your lawn. The best time to start is right around Labor Day. This gives your grass and seed plenty of time to form strong, healthy roots before the ground gets too cold.
When you seed and fertilize in the fall and add this task to your fall home maintenance schedule, your grass will grow in much thicker in the spring. That extra growth makes your lawn far more resistant to weeds and heat stress in the summer.
Taking Care of Details
In the rush to be prepared for winter, it’s easy to overlook details. Most homeowners pick up their hoses, change furnace filters and do a variety of other small jobs. Make sure to add these details to your list:
- Empty Plant Pots: It’s tempting to leave the dirt in the pots on your porch or patio so you can reuse it again in the spring. However, that dirt will accumulate moisture over the winter, which can crack your plant pots when they freeze.
- Check Outdoor Spigots:If your outdoor spigots aren’t frost-free, make sure that you shut off the water supply to them. If you don’t, the water in the faucet will cause it to burst during freezing weather.
- Clean Gutters Again:You may have cleaned your gutters in the spring or early fall, but make sure you do it one more time after all the leaves are gone. Clogged gutters lead to ice dams on your roof, which can tear the gutters off or cause damage to your roofing.
If you want your backyard to look great for the fall and winter months, there’s a lot of work to be done. However, fall yard maintenance isn’t just about looks — it also helps make life easier in the spring.
About the author: Jeff Caldwell is Brand Manager of Superior Shade in Carrollton, GA. Superior Shade provides sun protection with products including custom shades, cantilevers and umbrellas. The company provides custom products for your outdoor needs.