Fall Cleaning Tips For Your Yard

I hate to say it but summer is over. But now we can look forward to all the fun fall things to do like going to cider mills, playing in the leaves and enjoying the beautiful colors of autumn. With the change of season comes the long list of chores that need to be done around the house to prepare for winter. So before you run out to enjoy the pleasures of fall, check out this list of things to do around your home and yard.

Have the right tools

Having the right tools handy can make any task easier and trim the time it takes to do the job. A leaf blower is a great tool to have in your garage. It has many uses, but is really good for gathering leaves, especially if you have any back problems. Another great yard tool is the Amazing Rake – it scoops leaves, so no more bending over to pick up big piles.

Update your gutters

No one likes to clean gutters – it’s a dangerous and messy job. Gutter guards or covers are a must have on your home. The guards let water flow into the gutters while keeping debris out. They are worth the expense because you’ll never have to worry about them getting clogged, or frozen or broken in the winter.

Prep soil

Aerating or loosening the soil is best for your garden when done in the fall. During this time, you should clear away any weeds that have been trying to take over your garden all summer long. Add mulched leaves to add nutrients to your soil.

Plant spring flowers now

Plant bulbs such as lilies, daffodils and tulips, about four to six weeks before the ground freezes. Before planting, check to see when it is okay to plant flowers in your region. A tip to help keep squirrels away from your bulbs is to put a mesh down and then cover with dirt. This will keep little critters from digging up your bulbs and eating them.

Split perennials

Perennials are plants that come back every year and some can be split in the fall. Make sure to split the plant all the way down to the root. Some perennials need to split in a specific way, so consult your local garden center for expert tips on how to do so.

Prune roses

Once you see that your roses have stopped growing, trim them down to the ground. Pruning roses in the fall has a dual benefit: it will promote healthy growth during spring and into summer, plus, you’ll get more blooms if you prune now instead of springtime.

Fertilize your lawn

After you have cleared away all the leaves and other debris from your yard, fertilize your lawn before the ground freezes. Fertilizing in the early fall can help get your lawn valuable nutrients before it goes dormant for the winter. Make sure to pick a fertilizer with nitrogen, as it helps the grass to grow thick and green.  Check with your local garden center for tips on the right fertilizer for your yard.

Water trees and shrubs

Before the ground freezes and gets too cold outside, soak your trees and shrubs. The extra water is good for the root system and will help promote growth in the spring.

Winterize your deck

Since the patio furniture is put away for the winter months, now is a good time to clean all surfaces of your deck, and weatherproof wood decks with stain.

Windows and doors

Check the weather stripping and seals on all of your windows and doors. Be sure to check the seal on your garage door as well.

Close ponds and pools

I grew up having a pool, and the worst thing I remember is closing the pool late. If possible, close your pool before the leaves start to fall, as it can be difficult to get a pool spotless at that point. If you have a pond, take steps now to get it winterized so you can avoid dealing with a frozen pond in freezing temperatures.

Clean gardening tools and lawn equipment

If you don’t clean your gardening tools after each use, now is a good time to do so. Leaving dirt on them through the winter will lead to rust, and ruin your tools, which means you’ll have to waste money buying new ones in the spring.

Check your snow blower

Now is the time to prep your snow blower and get it ready for the first big snow fall. There is nothing worse than needing your snow blower and discovering it won’t work. Having it sit in the shop waiting to be fixed is not a good thing, mostly because your snow removal will be done the old fashioned way, with a shovel.

Check heating and cooling units

Inspect both heating and cooling units before snow flies, because you don’t want to be without heat when you need it most. Change filters and make sure there is no debris blocking any of the vents. If you have a fireplace, be sure to have that inspected so it is ready for a cozy night in.

Don’t put off your fall to-do list. Leaving decomposing leaves on your lawn for too long can kill your grass. Piles of leaves in your flowerbeds can encourage bugs to live in the soil, which could be harmful to your future plants. Doing these few things now will make spring time a lot more enjoyable with less yard work to be done. Starting early on your fall yard cleaning list will give you more time to focus on making the inside of your home warm and inviting with fall décor.  Grab a rake!

(written by Kristen Curzytek)

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