When a cool day breezes in, hinting at the seasonal change, take advantage of it to do outdoor maintenance. Trees and bushes need a trim with a chainsaw as they're slowing growth for the season. Leaf maintenance is likely a concern, so check out leaf blowers, rakes, and lawn and leaf bags. You should also find a wheelbarrow and buckets to contain the bounty of fall harvest. Read on to learn how to transition your fall lawn and garden into wintertime.
Fertilize or Patch Your Lawn
Patch up bald spots on your lawn by spreading fresh grass seed. Cooler weather is a great time to fill in dead, brown, or bare places in your yard. However, you should try to keep leaves off freshly seeded areas. New grass seed needs water, sun, and air to grow, and leaf litter can block out the sunlight and air it needs to germinate.
If you're in a northern climate, prepare your cool-season grass for the fall with lawn fertilizer. Rent an aerator to aerate your lawn before fertilizing to get the most bang for your buck. Water your cool-season lawn regularly and tend to any pesky fall weeds that show up. It'll need different maintenance than warm-season grass, which goes dormant as the weather cools. Taper down watering on warm-season lawns.
Fall planting is often overlooked, but autumn is the perfect time to get additional flowers in your garden. Mums, the nickname for chrysanthemums, provide a beautiful burst of fall color. Find them in shades of pink, purple, white, yellow, orange, and red. Pansies, surprisingly, can overwinter as far north as parts of The Great Plains, so consider adding them, too. They're hardy, but mums are even tougher. Remember to explore the wide variety of fall plant and flower options.
Shrubs and succulents put on a show of flowers in the fall, especially if they're kept in pots or strongly rooted in the ground. Succulent planters allow for easier upkeep of sensitive succulents. You can customize the planters' soil to fit these desert plants, as they need a sandy succulent soil mixture. For shrubs, look after the ones you've got or plant new ones, weather permitting. Get in new plants now, especially if you're in a warmer climate and have time before the cold and frost comes.
Cut and Cover Perennials
In climates where you might have a cold snap here and there, but then it'll warm up above freezing again, cover your plants. Protect your garden from frost and freeze damage to extend their season. You can get extra life out of your garden by covering your plants with 5-gallon buckets, tarps, or even painting drop cloths. It'll warm your plants like a greenhouse or blanket, and they'll survive a frost.
This works well early on, until you're fully into the colder parts of the season. Uncover the plants in the morning when the thermometer goes up again and let them enjoy that fall sunshine. Once the temperatures regularly dip below freezing, it's time to say goodbye to the garden for now.
Put the Garden to Bed
When your annuals start looking rougher, it's time to dig up the plants. Northern climates that get cold earlier in the fall might be putting the garden to bed for the season in October or November, while warmer climates might wait until November or December. After your annuals are done blooming for the year, dig them up and dispose of the dead plant debris. You can let them return their nutrients to the soil, but there are two exceptions: if your plants dealt with disease or if you had a slug problem.
If your garden is prone to snails, move the departed plants from the garden to another part of your lawn to decay, or put the plant remains in a yard waste bag. Although snails and slugs are often considered garden pests, they're still part of the ecosystem, so relocate them elsewhere if you can. As for the exception of your plants struggling with disease or blight, simply pack up those dead plants in the leaf and lawn bag to avoid passing any issues on to next year's crop.
After you've removed the old plants, you've got a clean slate. Prepare your garden bed for the spring by rotating the soil with a rototiller or shovel. You want to loosen the earth so the topsoil goes down and the deeper soil comes up. It lets the soil rest and helps nutrients penetrate. It's also an excellent opportunity to test the soil and see what, if any, soil amendments you need. Different crops and plants use different nutrients. Test your soil to see if it's balanced or if you need to replenish certain nutrients that have been depleted.
Bring Potted Plants Indoors
Gardeners with potted plants can extend their growing season by bringing delicate plants indoors to a sunny window. Indoor gardening allows both outdoor plants to live longer and house plants to bring joy into your home. Just rotate them regularly to give all leaves equal sunlight for photosynthesis, and make sure they get enough water now that they won't benefit from rainfall. Remember to place decorative dishes beneath them if the pots don't have built-in overflow dishes to catch any extra water.
Warm the Outdoors with an Outdoor Fireplace
Stretch out your fall evenings with a patio heater, outdoor fireplace, or fire pit to take off the chill. No matter if you're looking for outdoor heaters for decks, small patios, or cozy porches, we've got options. All you have to do is find the one that matches your decor style.
When you're curious about how to build an outdoor fireplace or how to choose an outdoor fireplace, we have the supplies you need. Bricks, mortar, a wheelbarrow, trowels, and more — let us help you get this fall project from doing to done. If you'd love some extra heat but rather not install a fire pit or fireplace, we also have patio heaters, including gas, propane, and electric models.
Ease Into Fall
This fall, shore up your garden for the season with us. We've got everything you need for putting the garden to bed, leaf cleanup, and restoring nutrients to your soil so it's ready for next spring. Shop our wide variety of fall garden care and outdoor living products online, in your Batesville store, or in our mobile app.
What do I do with all these leaves?
If you'd prefer to use power tools to keep fallen leaves under control, shop our leaf blowers. Electric versions come as corded or cordless leaf blowers. We've also got walk-behind, backpack, and handheld leaf blower models. Leaf vacuums, vacuum-mulcher combo units, or rakes are additional options. Turn the fallen leaves into mulch and enrich your soil or fill up lawn and leaf bags and take them out to the curb.
How do I harvest my produce when it's ripe?
To pick your produce, push aside any leaves and pinch the stem just above the veggie. Hold the stem tightly with the fingers of one hand, then with your dominant hand, rotate the vegetable until it falls off into your hand. Enjoy your bounty, warm from the sun, after you've given it a rinse.
How do I store my garden tools for the season?
To make next spring easier, clean your garden tools before you store them. Remove grime and clay with a soak in soapy water, then dry your tools well. Next, soak them in a water and bleach mix for 20 minutes to disinfect them, and follow with a rinse. Then, polish off rust with a wire brush, oil them with WD-40 or vegetable oil if necessary, and ensure they're dry before hanging them in a shed or garage.
When do I close my pool for the season?
Winterize the pool before the weather cools off too much. Clean and vacuum the pool, then drain the water. Cover the swimming pool to prevent the pipes or even the pool wall itself from becoming cracked or weakened if water freezes and expands inside. While you're at it, drain and cover outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems, too.
How early do I prep for shoveling snow?
In climates where it gets cold and snowy, now is the time to prepare your snow removal tools. Snow blowers are great, but keep a snow shovel or two to clean trouble spots or chip away ice patches. Explore the best snow and ice removal tools for your home. Find one-, two-, and three-stage snow blowers in electric and gas options. People with larger driveways may consider using a spreader to easily distribute the ice melt or salt to clear a path to the mailbox. Prepare now before the snow starts falling.
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