Fall has arrived, and it’s time for cleaning up, cleaning out, and getting ready for winter! Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Leaves and Other Fall Yard Waste
Consider composting your leaves and fall yard waste. When combined with a summer’s full of grass clippings, fall leaves and dried up sticks and brush will compost nicely, even over the winter, providing you with excellent material to fertilize the gardens in the spring. Don’t forget to toss in those jack-o-lanterns after Halloween, and any fruit and vegetable waste from the kitchen. If composting is not for you or you have more leaves than your compost bin can handle, rake the leaves into a large pile and run the lawn mower over them several times and use them as mulch for flower beds and gardens.
2. Garden Care
As the cooler temperatures set in, even the late summer bloomers are starting to fade away. Before the winter freeze sets in, take some time to clean up and prepare your gardens for winter. Pull all spent annuals and add them to the compost bin. Pull weeds and clear any debris out of garden space and prune back the perennials. Add mulch to perennial beds, small shrubs, young trees and other plants that stay in the gardens during the winter. Mowed over leaves, pine needles, and evergreen branches all make excellent winter mulches, and using them will reduce the amount of yard waste you need hauled away.
3. Lawn Care
Taking a few steps in the fall to care for your lawn will ensure a lush, green lawn in the spring. First, clear the lawn of any debris including trash, junk, and brush. Next, feed the lawn with a fertilizer specifically formulated for fall. Choose an all natural or organic product to avoid adding chemicals to your yard. If any areas of your lawn need seeding, mid-September is the time to do this. Rake up any leaves and toss them in the compost pile or mow over and use for mulch; don’t let leaves sit on the lawn for more than a week or two as this may cause unsightly brown spots. If you can’t set up your own compost bin, look in your area for industrial compost sites that accept yard waste. Also keep an eye out for curbside pick-up: some cities that operate compost sites will have specific collection dates in the fall. You can also ask local garden clubs or community gardens if they need extra yard waste to use as mulch. And, no matter where your yard waste is going to end up, if you’re hauling it away make sure to use biodegradable bags.
4. Get Your Neighbors Involved
If you’re dreading all that fall yard work, why not make it a little more fun? Get the community together to celebrate fall with a leaf-raking, yard-trimming block party. You can help out your neighbors who may not be able to take care of their yard on their own and make sure everyone’s waste is disposed of properly. Then, when the work’s all done, kick back and enjoy the last few days of warm weather with a barbeque, potluck, or other refreshments.