It may seem counterintuitive to start thinking about spring as we begin to sink into autumn temperatures, but Fall is the best time to start laying the groundwork for a healthy lawn and garden.
A GOOD CLEANING
For many in the Midwest fall signals an end to the garden season. Cooler temperatures begin to take a toll on annual blooms, and vegetable beds are cleaned out and prepped for a winters nap. While we may be tempted to approach fall with the same zeal as a spring cleaning, it’s important to be restrained and mindful.
LEAVES: Leaves can be a source of pests and disease if left alone but can also offer amazing nutrients for our soil when broken down. Some good practices include:
- Add to your compost pile or bin
- Remove from vegetable gardens, annual beds, and containers to avoid disease and pest issues.
- Rake and remove, or mulch down into small pieces in the lawn.
PERENNIALS: Leaves and stems, along with dried flowers are a great source of interest and insulation throughout the winter months. They also provide food and protection for native pollinators and beneficial bugs, so only remove plant debris from your perennials if you have had disease or pest issues over the summer.
TREES & SHRUBS: It’s tempting, but now is not the time to prune your trees and shrubs. A light pruning to remove any diseased or dead branches is fine but hold off on major projects until late winter or early spring.
FOR EARLY SPRING COLOR…GET DIGGING
Some of our favorite first signs of spring arrive in the form of colorful tulip, daffodil, allium blooms and more. Bulb planting in the fall may offer delayed gratification but if you follow these tips the results will be ranunculus!
Rule #1…Wear a Jacket. Plant when temperatures are consistently in the 40’s & 50’s. Planting when the ground temperatures are still warm could cause your bulbs to emerge too soon and be damaged by winter cold.
Rule #2…Give your bulbs a meal. Adding bone meal to the hole when planting provides much needed nutrients, allowing the bulb and its roots to develop through the winter season.
Rule #3…Be firm. For the best results you want to firmly place each bulb into the soil, flat side down, tip up.
Rule #4…Bring a Blanket. Make sure you cover your bulbs completely with good fresh soil. For added protection, we also recommend a couple of inches of mulch.
WEEDING & FEEDING FOR HEALTHY SPRING GREENING
Summers in the Midwest can be brutal, especially on our lawns. Fall rains and cooler temps must feel like a spa treatment to our dried out, heat exhausted grass and soil. Two of the best things we can do for our lawns in the fall is provide them with a good weeding and feeding.
Late season applications of herbicides strike weeds when they are most vulnerable. This makes it easier to kill weeds this time of year than any other.
An application of Earl May Fall Lawn Food releases slowly over time making your lawn stay greener longer. It is created especially for the Midwest and includes extra nutrients needed to improve the health of the soil, helping your lawn stay full, lush, and green.
Think spring this fall and be proactive in your lawn and garden. By introducing these simple steps into your fall clean up you are setting your outdoors up for a bountiful spring.
If you’re interested in reading more about caring for your lawn this fall, check out our blogs on Lawn Care.