10 Things You Should NOT Do to Your Yard This Fall

By Linsey Knerl on 22 October 2014 1 comment

The air is starting to chill and the leaves are starting to fall. Pools are coming down, and plans for how to prepare the yard for winter are being made. There is never enough time, it seems, to get everything in order for the new season, but it isn't the occasion to take shortcuts; in fact, skipping out on the proper way to handle your yard and garden could cause big damage come spring. (See also: 7 Ways to Improve the Life of Your Lawn Mower)

Avoid killing your outdoor space for good with these common mistakes.

1. Cut Your Grass Too Short

Depending on the species of grass you have growing in your yard, a buzz cut can kill the lush carpet covering your lawn and cause high-dollar damages, too. In fact, zoysia grass is not recommended to be cut down to less than two inches high, especially in the fall before it goes dormant. Leaving a little more length on your blades isn't really an eyesore, and it will help preserve your lawn in the long run.

2. Just Do a Once-Over

When mowing, aerating, or reseeding your lawn for the winter, be sure you do it once, and then go over it again diagonally. This will prevent your yard from having "lines" that will appear unattractive come spring.

3. Stop Watering

Unless it has reached freezing temps in your area of the country, continue to water as you normally would. Shrubs, fruit trees, and hedges are especially dependent on water this time of year, as they are getting what they need before they go dormant. Failing to water could cause significant damage to your precious plants.

4. Use the Wrong Fertilizer

If it's still warm enough to use fertilizer, opt for an easy-to-apply spray instead of a granular product. The small pieces of granular fertilizer can sit on your yard for months, failing to dissolve in to-dry conditions. You may end up with a burnt lawn if this happens.

5. Forget to Mulch

As long as the ground hasn't frozen, you still have time to apply mulch around your trees and on top of garden plants such as asparagus and rhubarb. Use the right kind of mulch for the plant, and be certain that you aren't spreading dangerous pests or fungus by moving recycled materials from a diseased plant to a healthy one.

6. Skip Raking

It is so much work, but it is so vital to a healthy yard! Layers of snow over layers of leaves can lead to mold and fungus damage. Plus, it makes it ridiculously difficult for that first mowing next year.

7. Spray Weed Killer When It's Cold

While the fall is the ideal time to get one last weed killing in, you do not want to do this in areas where it is not consistently above 60 degrees. So, southern folks are probably safe; here in Nebraska, we are past that point, already.

8. Leave Spring Planting Until the Spring

If you want beautiful spring bulbs, now is the time to put them in. Tulips, lilies, and even garden "roots" such as asparagus can go in now for a head start on next year. While getting behind on flowering plants isn't the end of the world, waiting an extra six months for asparagus is a big deal (especially since they need two full years to mature before the first harvest.) This is also a great time to plant new trees and shrubs.

9. Forget to Shop

Stores are clearing out all of their spring and summer gardening supplies right now! Stop in to get things you know you'll need like pots, soil, seeds, tools, and more. With savings of up to 90%, it's foolish to wait. Don't forget to check your local dollar store, too!

10. Overlook Pests

Do your apple trees have orange spots on the leaves? Did your fruit all end up with worms in it? Many of the pests that plague the family orchard and yard need to have an aggressive plan to stop them, and fall is the perfect time to take notes of what you see so that you can be proactive next year. Take pictures of any damage done to your yard and garden now, so that you can research the damage and purchase the right tools next year. Many issues, such as fungus and codling moths (the bugs that makes "wormy" apples) need to have sprays applied to trees in the early spring before symptoms appear. Taking notice now is the only way to get ahead of these problems.

Taking care of your lawn and garden the right way will depend on location, choices in greenery, and personal style. Being diligent about this last stage of the year can allow you to take a break during the winter before another season of yard work in the spring!

What are you doing (or have already done) to prepare your yard for winter? Please share in comments!

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Guest's picture
Guest

Great article! A good way to combine raking (#6) and mulching (#5) is to use a mulcher leaf blower, which sucks up the leaves and grinds them in the unit to produce a fine mulch. It's quite a time-saver, as is any leaf blower!