CHARLOTTE – As the fall season approaches, you must prepare your landscaping for the work to come. Start about six weeks before the first hard frost.
Make an assessment
Take a walk in your garden and see how all the plants behaved in spring and summer. Note the successes and failures of individual plants. Identify plants that have outgrown their space and need to be divided.
Check for diseases
Check overall plant health – look for disease and damage.
Replace summer annuals in window boxes and flower beds with cool weather flowers. You’ll want to weed, cut off spent flowers, divide overgrown plants, and dig up unhardy bulbs for winter storage. Amend the soil by adding compost or peat moss to replace nutrients lost during summer growth and to better prepare the soil for planting in the spring. Add mulch if needed, but don’t mulch too much – a 2 to 3 inch layer from bare soil is sufficient.
Sow the lawn
Fall is the perfect time to seed cool season grasses like fescue; this will give the seeds a chance to germinate and develop a good root system before freezing temperatures arrive.
Fertilize the lawn
Fall is also the best time to aerate and fertilize your lawn, preferably with a slow-release natural fertilizer. When provided with adequate nutrients, lawns can store food in the form of carbohydrates during the winter months. This will mean a better looking lawn in the spring.
And while you’re at it…
Take the time to straighten and organize your garden shed, dispose of old chemicals – responsibly of course – and take note of what you’ll need to replenish before next spring. For your lawn and garden tools, rub the metal surfaces of the tools with a light coating of oil; rub the handles of wooden tools with linseed oil; and sharpen anything that needs sharpening with a suitable file or grinder.