As another lovely summer draws to an end here in Ohio, Len’s Excavating & Landscape is busy as can be preparing the backyards and lawns of many residential and commercial customers for the next year’s growing season.
The cool temperatures and warm soil make the fall season a great time to add to and maintain a property’s landscape. The cool temperatures slow the plant’s growth above ground while the moist soil promotes strong root development. This season is ideal for planting because it helps the roots establish a solid system before winter hits. The cooler weather makes it easier for plants to adjust after being transplanted.
Before winter strikes a homeowner should clean up their flower beds and gardens. This means clearing away leaves, weeds, and plant debris. The removal of the leaves and plant matter reduces the risk of insects, diseases, and other pests from affecting and making a home of your landscaped areas during the following spring. The following are just a few tips for fall landscaping from Len’s Excavating & Landscape.
Fall is also the best time of year to fertilize your lawn and get weeds under control. To keep your lawn healthy during the fall season we recommend:
Mow the grass. The grass should be kept at a height of 2 ½ to 3 inches. Some property owners recommend trimming the turf down to about 1¼ inches for the last cut of the season, believing that shorter grass is more resistant to disease. While disease may have a harder time taking hold of shorter grass, be careful not to cut the grass too low. Since grass plants produce the majority of their food in the upper part of the grass blade, grass cut too short may not fair well during a harsh winter.
A shorter lawn will also come in handy when the leaves begin to fall. The leaves will be more likely to blow across the lawn because they will not get stuck on the long blades of grass.
Water the lawn. Despite the cool temperatures, a lawn still requires regular watering to keep healthy during the fall. Watering should continue until about the time the ground begins to freeze. Proper watering during the fall helps the grass to survive during the winter.
Fertilize the lawn during mid to late October. Because grass roots keep growing until the ground temperature reaches about 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, it is suggested that a lawn be fertilized during the early fall season. A homeowner may want to have their lawn tested to see what nutrients the lawn specifically needs. A proper fertilizer application during the fall will provide the grass with the nutrients it will need to flourish during the coming spring.
Get rid of the weeds. Normally, the month of September is the prime time to rid a yard of weeds and other unwanted vegetation like dandelions and clover. Using weed killer in the fall seems to be more effective because the weeds are taking in the nutrients to store in their roots for winter, and thus they also take in the chemicals of the weed killer. Weeds can be removed by hand, or if needed, spot treated with herbicides.
Apply seed if needed. Reseed or overseed the lawn if it hasn’t grown in thick enough over the past season.
Aerate the soil. Sometimes the soil can become compressed and hard. In order for water and nutrients to reach the roots of the grass, the soil will need to be aerated. Aeration occurs when the soil is churned or loosened. For small yards a garden fork or pitch fork can do the job, but for larger areas there are walk behind aerators available.
An important tip to remember: When aerating, fertilizing, or seeding a lawn, always go over the lawn twice, with crossing paths so as to avoid unwanted stripes.
One of the best parts about living in Ohio during the fall season is the breathtaking changing of the leaves’ colors. But, once these colorful beauties start to fall from the trees they can be a bit of a pain to clean up. As kids, many of us spent a number of fall days raking up leaves, but why? It wasn’t simply just so the yard looked nice.
The lawns of the Northern U.S. grow what are referred to as cool season grasses. This means that during the cooler period of the year, mainly the fall, these grasses are the most active. But, a thick layer of leaves left on a lawn can slow the growth of these grasses by blocking out the much needed sunlight. This can lead to problems like mold and discolored lawn spots. Here are some helpful hints when it comes to managing the falling leaves:
For small amounts of leaves –
If there are less than 2 inches of leaves covering the lawn you can simply use a lawn mower to shred them. After a few passes on the mower, the leaves will be turned into a thin, finely shredded, layer which will then in turn provide nutrients to the grass.
For larger amounts of leaves –
Compost them! For property owners that have a compost bin or pile, the fallen leaves can be added to the compost to breakdown and be used for fertilizing and nutrients later.
Make mulch. Whole or shredded leaves can be used as mulch for spring or winter. They can be chopped and shredded by running a mower over them. But, be sure that the leaves and plant matter being shredded and mixed together are not contaminated. If a tree has a disease or fungi, that same condition can be carried with the shredded leaves and plant matter, causing the trees and plants where the mulch is later spread to contract such disease or fungi.
Bag them! Sometimes there are just too many leaves. If you find yourself with no use for the leaves then be sure to rake them up and bag them. Many cities and municipalities provide their residents with a leaf pick-up day on which they will retrieve and remove the bagged leaves.
In the fall, when all of the garden’s glorious fruits and vegetables have been harvested and the greenery dies, next year’s garden preparation can begin.
A beautiful flower bed is not made in an instant. Sometimes it can take long term planning, persistent maintenance, and some hard work. Here are a few fall flowering tips that Len’s Excavating & Landscape would like to share with you:
Len’s Excavating & Landscape hopes that you found these fall landscaping tips to be helpful. For any further landscaping questions or concerns, call the experts at Len’s Excavating & Landscape today! Remember, the grass is always greener at Len’s!