Ten Plus Ways to Improve Your Yard in the Fall
By Stephen Shelton
“Fall is for Planting” is the old nurseryman’s slogan. It gives new plants time to get adjusted to their new location. Whither you are planting new shrubs and trees or transplanting from one location in the yard to another, water all new plantings by sticking the hose end into the dirt around the plant when planting to eliminate any air pockets in the soil so the plant can establish new roots before winter.
- Since my wife and I moved into our present home, I have removed over 25 trees and shrubs that had to be trimmed every couple of months because they were shaped like big balls all over the yard or were overgrown in the space they were planted in. Fall is a great time to do this! Don’t be afraid of removing plants that are to big or overgrown in your landscape. Fewer plants with room to grow to their mature sizes look better and are less work than lots of bushes that have to be trimmed regularly. And, did I say, it’s less work?
2. I recommend two fertilizations a year (Spring & Fall). Labor Day is a good time for
fall. Options are: organic fertilizer like Milorganite or a 3-1-2 ratio balanced
3. Continue your twice a week water schedule. I run my sprinkler system at 4 A.M. for
ten minutes, then again at 5:15 A.M. for ten minutes and again at 6:30 A.M. for ten
minutes. This allows for deeper water penetration during hot weather. Once the
temperature drops below 90, I will set my system to run twice instead of three time.
4. Before the leaves begin to fall, get out that ladder and clean out your gutters.
5. I hope you are composting. My wife and I have cut out about 60%of our garbage
by composting and recycling. We compost all fruit and vegetable waste, grass
clippings and cardboard packaging. By turning it at least twice a week and adding
water when dry, we make beautiful black dirt for our plants.
6. Flower beds need your attention in the fall as your summer flowers begin to
decline. Add compost to your soil and plant Mums, Alyssum, Pansies and winter
vegetables like spinach, kale, and lettuces in your beds for homegrown produce.
You can also plant onions, turnips, beets and other root crops in the fall.
7. A great time to prune your trees is after they lose their leaves. (See my blog post
on proper pruning techniques at http://www.newhorizonslandscapes.com )
8. Always collect your leaves in the fall and add them to your compost pile or leave the bags at the curb for your neighbors who compost.
9. Fall is a great time to wash your windows. You will be surprised at how much
brighter your outlook on life will be through clean windows. (Best window cleaning
solution is equal parts denatured alcohol and water, in my opinion.)
10. I love to cook out in the fall. Make sure your grill is in good working order and
replace any worn out parts.
11. With cooler weather and shorter days, consider stringing clear LED lights in and
around your patio or terrace for evening entertainment.
12. Finally, check out your fire pit, gas heater and chimeneas to make sure they are in good working order.
Always have a hose or fire extinguisher handy in case of an accident.
This may sound like a lot, but many of these projects take less that a day to accomplish. Spread out over the next three or four months, and you can do the work and still have time to enjoy your yard. If you have questions or comments go to http://www.newhorizonslandscapes.com.
Don’t be afraid to play in the dirt.