Autumn is the best time to prepare your trees and garden for spring. Prepping trees and the lawn for the winter months ahead is sure to pay off in the spring. If you aren’t quite sure of how to prepare for winter snow and ice, here are some handy fall tree care tips and a yard maintenance checklist to guide you.
Fall Tree Care and Yard Maintenance Guide
To check if a sad-looking shrub or tree is still alive, scratch the bark at the base of the trunk. If there is no green under the bark, then it may be dying if not already dead. If green, give it a prune and wrap it when the weather turns colder to protect it from frost. It is important that you water both young trees and mature trees during this time of year. This will allow the trees root systems to expand and reach water sources deeper in the ground. Newly planted trees and plants will continue to experience root growth in the fall. If the tree or shrub is dead, fall is the best time to dig it out before the ground becomes too hard.
Prune trees once the leaves have fallen off. Typically this happens around late fall, which is the start of the dormant season. Place mulch around the base for a radius of around two feet, however, not up against the base. Depending on the age and size of the tree, it can also be wrapped to guard against frost. It is also important that you water the roots frequently.
Keep on mowing and watering the lawn. When the temperature starts to drop, lower the mower blades to their lowest setting for the last two mows of the season. By mowing low, the light will be able to reach the crown of the grass and it will enable the soil to dry out quicker come spring.
After mowing, aerate the lawn to remove thatch and to counteract soil compaction. This will help air and water to get to the roots. Aerate during the fall growing period as this will remove soil plugs and allow the grass to grow and reach open areas. It will also help new grass seeds to grow while the ground is still a little warm. Over-sow seeds in bald patches and water these areas well. Fall is also the best time to apply fertilizer which will help the lawn recover from the summer heat.
Remove any debris from the lawn. Too many dead leaves can smother the grass, blocking the light, and prevent the lawn from growing. Removing dead leaves and other organic debris such as weeds will also protect your yard from becoming a nesting ground for mice, rats, and hedgehogs. Debris, if left unattended, can also block drains which will be a problem when the snow melts.
Leaves make good, natural fertilizer for lawns and flower beds. Instead of raking them up, mow over them when they are still dry. The bits will embed themselves into the grass and decompose naturally. However, if you do want to get rid of the leaves on the lawn, rake them onto a tarpaulin. This will make it easier to carry them to the compost heap or the curb.
Salvage whatever can be salvaged from dead trees, fallen branches, pruning, and dug-up tree stumps. Chances are the wood is quite dry and will make for good kindling and firewood. As for the debris from the flower beds, head off to the compost heap with it, so that it can recycle itself.
What we do in the yard now will only be reflected in the next season. Diligent fall tree and yard care will only deliver dividends in the spring. If done properly they will pay out handsomely.
Additional Reading: Why It’s Great to Plant Trees in the Fall
Omaha Tree Services
At Omaha Tree, our mission is to provide tree care services & mulch products that improve the HEALTH, BEAUTY, & SAFETY of our customers’ trees. We recycle all of our wood waste material from the trees we trim and remove in the greater Omaha metro area. The wood waste material is brought back to our 8-acre site at 3606 McKinley Street, where it is processed into a beautiful & consistent mulch product that is local, fresh, and clean. Contact a certified arborist today.