The fall season is on our doorstep, and, in Atlanta, that means saying goodbye to sweltering summer temperatures, enjoying the display of fall colors, and delving into traditional favorites like football and pumpkin-spiced everything. Fall also presents an opportunity to spend time in your yard or garden, readying your property for winter.
What does that involve? Most commonly, everyone immediately thinks of collecting the fallen leaves. While that’s important, there’s plenty more to consider.
PRUNING & TRIMMING
For some trees and ornamental shrubs, autumn is the perfect time for a light clean-up pruning as they begin to go dormant. Removing old growth and cutting back dead stems can play a role in preventing fungal diseases from setting in. Note that heavy winter pruning should wait until January or February to allow them to really “pop” as they come out of dormancy.
As well, perennials should be cut back within an inch or two of the ground to allow for healthy and vigorous growth during next year’s growing cycle. You might also consider adding a protective layer around the plants in the form of mulch or pine straw.
AERATION & SEEDING
Compacted soil occurs naturally over time simply from the frequent use of your lawn. Think of all the traffic your lawn endured throughout the summer from kids to pets and outdoor entertaining. As the soil becomes compacted, the water, air and nutrients that allow your lawn to grow and stay healthy can’t get through. Those with fescue grass can benefit from core aeration, the process of alleviating that compaction by pulling up tiny plugs of sod and loosening the soil. Think of it as a deep breath for your lawn. Seeding then follows the aeration process. Fescue is a cool season grass that struggles to endure through the summer heat. Seeding in the fall will help your fescue lawn to recover and flourish when spring arrives.
A hot, dry summer can be hard on both soil and grass. Soil nutrients that are out of balance can affect the way your plants grow. When soil pH is out of balance, it can either be too acidic or too alkaline. Fertilization helps with recovery by infusing important nutrients that will balance pH levels and help lawns establish strong roots, increase energy reserves, and survive the colder winter temps.
In Georgia, however, timing matters! October is usually the ideal time to fertilize in order to precede the first fall frost by several weeks.
Fertilizing your lawn and keeping the grass healthy will naturally prevent weeds from growing. Unfortunately, pesky weeds will still find a way to thrive. If they’re left unattended in the fall, weeds can go to seed and spread across your property. In the spring, those seeds will flourish and potentially overtake your grass. Getting ahead of them now, will pay off big in the spring. In some cases, the application of pre-emergent is a good way to stop the germination.
While grass and plant material might be the focus of your fall care, don’t overlook the hardscape! Your landscape’s curb appeal includes the driveway, patios and walkways and now is a great time to pressure wash and to also inspect for cracks or damage. Applying sealant can prevent damage that could potentially occur from freezing and thawing.
PICK UP THOSE LEAVES!
Yes, we’ve told you that removing fallen leaves isn’t the only task you should worry about in the fall. However, it’s still important! Left unattended, dead leaves that have melded together can cause significant damage to your lawn by blocking airflow. They also trap moisture, creating the perfect environment for a fungal infection to thrive.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
While it’s one thing to read about all the important ways to maintain your lawn in fall and prepare for winter, it’s another thing to find the time to do the work. We understand and we’re here to help. Every fall, Buckhead Landscape & Design provides fall maintenance services for homeowners throughout the north Atlanta area, and we’d be happy to add you to our list.
Buckhead Landscape & Design has a long history of serving the greater Buckhead area, providing landscape design and maintenance services, as well as hardscape design, irrigation, and outdoor lighting. When it comes to creating inviting and functional outdoor areas that you can enjoy with friends and family, the professionals at Buckhead are prepared to invest time in understanding your vision, goals, and budget to design and deliver projects that you will love.