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Keep Your Landscape Beautiful With Fall Maintenance And Winter Preparation

By Stephen Daniels

As many homeowners know, fall involves a bit more than some light raking, the first indoor fire, and pumpkin carving. It involves getting down and dirty in the yard, preparing it for the cold weather ahead. And whether you attend to everything yourself or hire a professional landscaping service, ensuring a robust lawn and beautiful blossoms next spring depends on some specific fall maintenance.

Keeping the lawn clear of leaves, planting bulbs, cleaning ponds, and planting new trees are just a few of the things that require your attention in the fall. A landscape contractor might be advisable to help keep you on top of everything, but these are the basics you’ll want to consider when the warm days give way to cool nights.

Remember to continue watering and mowing your warm-season grasses until they go dormant. Set the mower to 2 inches, keep mowing until there are few or no clippings afterward. This is the signal that the grass is done growing for the year. Keep in mind, though, certain areas of the yard grow longer than others and must still be cut.

When the leaves fall, continually remove them from the yard and apply a pre-emergent herbicide to control weeds. When the tree tops are bare and the yard is cleared, apply fertilizer over the turf, which will encourage growth and thickness in the spring. In Seattle, for example, it is recommended to fertilize yards with 3 to 4 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn each year. Plenty of phosphorus and potassium are equally important, however, and your grass type will ultimately determine the right one to use.

You may also wish to divide perennials in the fall, which is the optimal time to do so. Take notice of bare spots that need replanting and cut back dead growth from any stalk plants such as goldenrods and shasta daisies. It’s also a good time to shop for spring flowering bulbs, which are best planted during the cool days of October. This is also when you should begin planting trees and shrubs. Cooler temperatures place less strain and allow them to establish over the winter. Once all the leaves have fallen, clear off the root systems and protect them with mulch. It is recommended that planting areas be covered with at least two inches of fresh mulch annually.

If you have water lines and in-ground irrigation systems, they must be prepped for a winter freeze, which can rupture pipes and crack heads. To avoid these costly repairs, all water must be cleared out with an air compressor not exceeding 50 lbs. per square inch (psi). Another important consideration is air volume, which will vary depending on the size of your system. For a standard residential system, use something above 60 cubic feet per minute (cfm), but under 175 cfm.

Ponds and water features are another important aspect of winter prep. Whether or not you have fish, it is important to clean pumps and filters. In severe winter freeze areas, if you are going to let your water feature freeze over (not recommended if you have fish), you can take out decorative features like waterfalls or misters that can burst during a freeze. If you have wildlife in your pond, it is important to keep at least a small hole in the ice so it is likely your pond will have to run all winter.

Lastly, it is vital to remove all leaves, debris, and organic materials. Dead and decomposing matter will cause an algae bloom come spring and can become toxic for your fish. Use a pond vacuum or siphon to clean everything out. A good practice is to cover the pond with netting over the winter, which you can find at most nurseries or hardware stores. Not only does this keep debris from getting into the pond, but it also protects against predators.

When in doubt about maintenance required, it is a good idea to contact a professional landscape service for advice and assistance in getting all the required work completed before the first winter freeze sets in.

Reproduction permitted only when all active hyperlinks are included. 2010 All Rights Reserved.

Stephen Daniels is an acclaimed NetBiz SEO 2.0 researcher. If you need a professional landscaper in Seattle, he highly recommends Rick Young Landscaping and Design. They collaborate extensively with the client and offer a range of services to meet any of your landscaping needs, from stone work to drainage.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Daniels, Stephen "Keep Your Landscape Beautiful With Fall Maintenance And Winter Preparation." Keep Your Landscape Beautiful With Fall Maintenance And Winter Preparation. 25 Aug. 2010. 7 Mar 2017 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Daniels, S (2010, August 25). Keep Your Landscape Beautiful With Fall Maintenance And Winter Preparation. Retrieved March 7, 2017, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Daniels, Stephen "Keep Your Landscape Beautiful With Fall Maintenance And Winter Preparation"

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