The temperature is starting to drop and so are the leaves on the trees. Winter is right around the corner and there is a lot to do to prepare your yard for those cold temperatures. Don't get caught holding the bag of leaves when snow falls; use this autumn maintenance checklist to finish the last your yard work.
- Plant Bulbs - Planting spring bulbs in the fall for Minnesota gardens is generally done in September or October. However, if temperatures are still warm enough and the ground hasn't frozen over, get those in the ground before it's too late. More details about spring flowering bulbs.
- Plant Shrubs & Perennials - Ideally roots want a month to establish, but similar to bulbs, it's not too late as long as the ground isn't frozen. The plants and shrubs will go dormant over the winter, and you can enjoy them in the spring. More details about late season planting.
- Protect Shrubs and Trees - To ensure that they are protected throughout our cold temps and mega amounts of snow, wrap or protect vulnerable plants. Evergreens that are susceptible to winter burn should be wrapped in burlap. The trunk of newly planted trees should be wrapped. Any shrubs or trees that aren't Minnesota hardy, can be wrapped and should have a nice layering of mulch to insulate the root system. More details about the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones.
- Clean Gutters - Leaves can wreak havoc when they clog gutters, and most importantly when we have snow and freezing temps. Those clogged gutters can lead to a bigger mess. Ensure all gutters and downspouts are free of all debris, and water can flow freely throughout the gutter system.
- Rake Leaves - Rake a big pile of leaves, let your kids jump in it and make a mess, then start over again. Mulching leaves with a lawn mower is a great way to reduce the amount of leaves while creating a natural compost for the yard. TIP - Use a leaf blower to get the hard to reach areas first.
- Cut Back Perennials - Fall is a great time to cut back perennials so you're not left with a soggy mess in the spring.
- Re-seed Lawn - While raking has the benefits of dethatching, it also allows you to see those areas that may be in need of some extra TLC. Re-seeding now enables your lawn to be at its best in the spring.
- Winterize Irrigation System - Do not wait too long before winterizing water features or an irrigation system. These items need to be blown out and winterized to prevent any damage from freezing temps. Turn off outdoor faucets, and unhook/drain garden hoses.
- Store Furniture - Unless you have the weatherproof type of outdoor furniture, typically one will clean, inspect, and store outdoor furniture. This helps prolong the life of the furniture, and it will be clean and ready for the next season.
Were you able to check yes to all of these fall chores? If not, take advantage of the last warm days to finish the yard work and save a headache come winter or spring. Call a professional service or landscape company for help with any of these tasks, especially for an irrigation system.