Fall Yard prep? Really? Yes, really.
As the growing season comes to a close across much of the US and fall sets in fully – it is time to think about next year and some steps to take now to ensure a successful growing season next year. A key date you’ll be working backwards from for fall yard prep is date of first frost, if you don’t know when that is you can look it up here . Start with a good general clean up a good lawn raking to remove debris and any built up thatch will let fall moisture and air get to the roots. I would do this about 8 weeks before the first frost. Once cleaned up and de-thatched you’ll want to give the lawn a good week of watering, then aerate and fertilize making sure to get this done at least 4 weeks before first frost. Once this is done water and normal for the remainder of the season.
As the leaves continue to fall keep them picked up and debris in the yard to a minimum so that sun light can get through to your plants and let them naturally harden off and go dormant for the year. Leaving significant amounts of leaves on the ground is a big no-no in fall yard prep because it causes anything under they blanket to die off.
For winter pruning give dormant plants at least 6 weeks before any pruning to properly harden off or if possible wait until very early spring and prune before bud break.
If you live in an area where the ground can freeze or you risk a pipe bursting due to freezing temperatures have your sprinklers blown out within a couple weeks of first frost at the latest, ideally sooner.
That is about it for the fall, keep debris under control, aerate, prune and close up the sprinklers. This type of fall yard prep will foster a good environment for over wintering and help spring growth get off to the right start.