1. Spruce It Up
Clean out the remains of old annuals, and dried stems in your flowerbeds. Getting rid of dead plants will help to destroy harmful insects and prevent the spread of disease during the spring. Remove dieback from perennials and cut their stems to within an inch or two of the ground.
2. Plant Bulbs
Fall is the ideal time to get bulbs into the ground while the temperatures aren’t too hot or too cold. Loosen the soil first and add organic nutrients. You can check a zone chart to see when and what to plant in your region.
3. Mow Low
Mow the lawn with the blade on its lowest setting to help the sun reach the crown of the grass.
4. Feed the Grass
Call a lawn care expert to make sure your lawn is getting the right mix of nutrients for the region you live in. You can also get a soil test, which helps determine the soil pH and nutrient levels and provides recommendations for fertilizing.
5. Enrich the Soil
Fall provides an abundant source of natural compost that will enrich the soil over the winter. Can you guess what it is? Leaves! Shredding them and spreading a 2″- 4″ deep layer adds an organic coating to your soil. You can also add grass clippings to the leave.
6. Wipe Out Weeds
Fall is the best time to get rid of weeds. Apply weed preventer in spray when the soil is moist and the air temperature is moderate. A layer of mulch also helps keep weeds to a minimum.
Early fall is a great time to rid your lawn of layers of plant debris. This allows your lawn to breathe by removing excess organic debris that can restrict water and airflow if not properly applied (see step 5).
8. Fertilize for Future Growth
A fall application of fertilizer delivers essential nutrients for the grass to grow deep roots and keep nutrients on reserve for a healthy start next spring. Wait until mid-to-late fall, then apply a dry lawn fertilizer to all grassy areas. Be careful not to miss any spots!
9. Fill in Bald Spots
Fall is also a great time of year to fix any bald spots in your lawn. The quickest and easiest way to do this is with a lawn repair mixture. Use a garden rake to scratch loose the soil at the bald spot in your lawn. Then spread a thick layer of the lawn repair mixture over the area. Lightly compact the mixture, water thoroughly, and continue to water every other day for two weeks.
10. Assess the Damage
First, take a walk around your garden and look at how all the plants did over the summer. Track successes and failures of individual plants. Identify which plants have outgrown their space and need to be divided. This will make for an even more successful garden next year!