Fall is a great time to clean up your property in preparation for a beautiful yard in the spring, especially if you're thinking about putting your house up for sale. A little bit of hard work now and you'll have less to do once winter passes. Tackle these 4 areas of the yard now, and consider the "bonus round", for a wow factor in the spring.
1. Lawn Prep
Reseed any bare areas of your lawn. In many areas during early fall, wet weather and cooler temperatures provide the ideal setting for growing grass from seed. Use a rake to remove dead grass and loosen the soil, lightly spread seed and scratch it into the top 1/4 inch of soil. Top with a light layer of mulch and gently water 2-4 times per day (you don't want the seed to dry out). Consider purchasing seed that's encapsulated in mulch so the seed stays moist for a longer
period of time. By spring, no one will ever guess your lawn had dead spots months earlier.
Fertilize your lawn. Whether you use store bought fertilizer, organic, or make your own, replenishing the nutrients will make for a healthy lawn in the spring. Depending on where you live, this is typically done a couple of months before the ground freezes. Talk to your local garden center about the ideal fertilizer for your area.
2. Shrubs and Young Trees
If you live in an area that gets sub-zero temperatures, protect delicate shrubs (ex. hydrangeas, tea roses, ) by building up leaves around the base. Use a tomato cage or a cylinder of chicken wire to hold the leaves in place.
Trim overgrown or dead branches from trees (easiest to see before the leaves fall). If dead branches aren't removed, you risk them getting torn off during harsh winds and possibly damaging the tree itself.
If you have young trees, wrap the trunk in paper tree wrap in the fall. Once the ground freezes, add 3-4 inches of mulch around the base of the trunk to further protect it from winter temperatures.
3. Rain Gutters
Once all of the leaves have fallen, take time to clean leaves and debris out of your rain gutters. Not only will this make it easier when spring rain arrives, you will decrease your chances of bugs setting up residence in the debris. TIP: consider using your leaf blower, with a special attachment, to blow debris out of the gutters.
4. Yard Debris
Clean up leaves, sticks and branches around your property. Compost the small stuff and dispose of larger branches.
Consider leaving a layer of leaves in your flower/shrub gardens to insulate plants from ice and snow and provide nutrition, as the leaves breakdown.
The Bonus Round
Once you've cleaned up around the yard and flower beds, consider planting bulbs for an amazing pop of color in the spring. Especially if you're aiming to sell your house as the weather warms up, a burst of color at the end of winter will surely drawn a lot of attention.
Prepping your yard in the fall will lead to a rewarding spring. Cutting the lawn short, fertilizing, trimming shrubs, and cleaning the gutters are just a few things you can do to get your yard ready for winter. If you plant bulbs, your gardens will look especially colorful as temperatures rise in the spring. Consider instilling the help of children or friends, then have a nice dinner together to celebrate your hard work. Spring is a popular time for homes to go up for sale so, if you're thinking about listing, try these 4 steps and you'll be ahead of the game when spring comes around.