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The Late Summer Shuffle – 5 Maintenance Tips to Prep for Fall

The summer’s almost over. The days are slowly getting shorter as we pass the solstice and September will be here before we know it, bringing drying leaves and chills. What should you do to your garden? Believe it or not, it’s not good to just leave your plants to the elements and largely ignore them. Here are 5 tips to make sure your garden is ready for fall, winter, and the following spring!

1. Weeding and Pruning

The fight’s not over yet. Despite the spring-summer rush from dandelions and crabgrass popping up everywhere, weeds are an ongoing problem. Make sure to always follow label instructions when using herbicide and take breaks when pulling by hand. All that work will pay off next season. When pruning plants, remember to cut most perennials close to the ground (about an inch or two should do). Trim your large bushes and shrubs, but be careful – certain plants like boxwood shouldn’t be pruned after late August! While they’ll survive, there will be plenty of work for you come spring.

2. Fertilization

Most people cut back on fertilizer in late summer, and while that is true for flowers and other plants, your lawn will be better off next summer. Using a lawn feed mix that’s high in phosphorus will encourage roots, leading to greener turf once the snow thaws. Thinking of natural fertilizer? Use natural compost from any pruning, weeding, and clipping from other maintenance you’ll be doing during this period. Growing and turning your compost during the colder months will give you a good mix by the time spring rolls around. Make sure to winterize your compost bin first!

3. Mowing

Cut your lawn short the closer it is to autumn. Keeping it short will help it absorb more sunlight during cold, sunless months which will help your grass thrive. Not to mention it’ll be just the right height when everything starts melting. After mowing, make sure to clean out your mower blades and complete regular maintenance on the battery, drain the oil and fuel to keep the engine healthy, and rent an aerator while the mower takes a break. Aerating your lawn will let water, oxygen, and fertilizers to enter the ground sooner and give the grass roots more nutrients in half the time.
The Late Summer Shuffle - 5 Maintenance Tips to Prep for Fall 1

4. Planting

Wait, planting? This late? You’re absolutely right. This time is ideal for growing early spring plants like tulips and snowdrops. If you’re feeling more adventurous, this is also an ideal time to plant new trees, providing you properly prepare them for winter with coverings and extra mulch to keep them cozy.

5. Clean-Up

Are we there yet? Finally, after all that maintenance all you have left to do is clean up. Remove pet waste from the yard, hose down your tools, edge the lawn to keep grass away from winter salt, and put all that gear away. For a bonus tip, don’t stress raking the leaves if you use your mower to mulch them before storage! The finely cut leaves will do wonders for your lawn.

We’re exhausted just thinking about it all! Get help on your landscaping and hardscaping preparation for fall; call Mountain Road Landscaping today for stress-free end of season maintenance.