Lawn & garden care tips for fall

A bit of fall maintenance goes a long way to ensuring a healthy lawn and garden, and there are just a few steps to take before the first frost arrives. Get started by checking out these lawn and garden care tips and picking up the landscaping products you will need to prepare your outdoor space for the coming seasons.

1. Aerate the Lawn
A lawn aerator is a handy tool that helps prevent soil compaction by turning the ground. This allows air, water, and nutrients to make their way deep into the soil and encourage robust grass and plant growth. Loosening the ground is easier while it is still warm from hot summer temperatures.
2. Continue mowing the grass
Grass keeps growing right up until the first frost, and that means you need to keep your lawn mower out and continue mowing. In the fall, your lawn should be regularly trimmed to a height of 2 ½ to 3”. Shorter grass is susceptible to the cold while longer grass is susceptible to mould.
3. Apply fall fertilizer
Lawn fertilizers introduce important nutrients into the soil to support healthy roots, leaves, and flowers. They contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, though in different amounts for different times of year. In the fall, you should use a specially formulated fertilizer with a ratio of 20-8-8. The extra nitrogen will promote grass growth before the winter frost sets in. For best results, always follow the manufacturer’s application directions.

Pro Tip

Applying fertilizer immediately after aerating your lawn will help ensure that the nutrients penetrate the surface of the ground and reach down to the roots.
4. Repair patchy spots with grass seed
A dense lawn is healthier, more resilient, and better able to stand up to droughts. If you notice any bald or patchy spots on your lawn while mowing, then fall is a great time for some repairs. Spread grass seed generously around the affected area so that it grows in thick. The warm ground and less intense sun provide excellent conditions for successful seed germination.
5. Plant shrubs and trees
The fall, particularly around the beginning of October, is also the ideal time to plant new trees and shrubs. The soil should still be warm enough for the roots to grow, and your trees and shrubs will have the next several months to develop a healthy root system.

Pro Tip

Newly planted trees and shrubs need to be watered immediately. They will also require frequent and heavy watering over the next several weeks, as the cooler air can cause the soil to quickly dry out.
6. Plant spring bulbs
Another task to tackle in October is the planting of spring bulbs like daffodils, irises, crocuses, tulips, and hyacinths. The bulbs will be well preserved by the cold temperatures over the winter and ready to bloom beautifully in the warmth of spring.
7. Rake fallen leaves
The changing colours of fall leaves are a beautiful sight, but it also means that you are soon going to have to get raking. Cleaning up the fallen leaves in a timely manner is important for the health of your lawn, as they can trap moisture, block sunlight, and harbour pests. A good leaf rake will help you make quick work of the task. Want to speed things up even more? Grab a leaf blower.
8. Clean up your garden
The arrival of cooler weather signals the end of your summer garden, which needs to be tidied up to make way for your fall garden. Equipped with some basic gardening tools, start by removing dead or diseased plants. Most can be pulled by hand, but a cultivator can help speed things up. Finish by running a rake through the soil to remove any remaining roots.

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