Preparing the Yard for Winter

By David Goehring (Flickr: Fall Labors) [CC-BY-2.0]

By David Goehring (Flickr: Fall Labors) [CC-BY-2.0]

Summer has come to an end and autumn is starting to show its colours. It’s likely your lawn has slowed down its growing substantially and leaves, dead fruit and other debris are starting to fall. Doing yard maintenance in the looming shadow of winter is not nearly as exciting as it is in the spring, but it is just as necessary. Taking the time to properly prepare your yard for the cold season ahead will ensure it thrives, healthy and strong all year long.

Lawn Maintenance

Rake your lawn to remove any leaves or other debris, keep an eye on it and do it regularly until the snow falls.   This is especially important if you are planning on re-seeding or repairing any damaged areas of lawn. Keeping your yard clear of leaves will also prevent snow mold or mildew growth in the winter and will allow your lawn to breathe properly throughout the year.

Aerate your lawn on a day when the soil is soft and moist, but not wet. Renting a power aerator will drastically reduce the amount of work. Aerating can also be done in the spring, but if you do it this time of year you won’t have to worry about walking on all the soil bits that are left over.  It also primes your lawn for an autumn seed and fertilizing.

Spread compost or top soil in areas where the lawn is thin or damaged. You only need to put down about a quarter of an inch, and rake it evenly throughout the lawn or on damaged areas allowing it to enter the aerator holes. Don’t put on too much as it can suffocate and kill your grass.

Fertilize your lawn using a slow-release, all-natural fertilizer. If you are using a chemical fertilizer make sure you don’t overdo it and burn your lawn. Keep your spreader from dumping too much in one spot and only have it open when the spreader is in motion.

Seed your lawn and don’t worry about over doing it! The seed you choose depends on the climate you live in and any specific problems your lawn might be having, or the kind of conditions it’s up against. When preparing your lawn to be seeded, make sure you give it a fresh mow and cut it a little shorter than usual the day before. Fall’s colder temperatures and rain makes it easy to reseed bare spots.

Water your lawn even though it’s not hot out. The new seed needs to be watered daily so the top soil is constantly moist and they can germinate. The ground should be moist, but not soggy as that promotes snow mold.

Tree & Shrub Maintenance

Pruning your trees and shrubs in the fall is not a good idea so resist the urge! Pruning, when done properly, stimulates growth. Should you promote growth at the end of the season, the new growth will not be able to sustain the winter and you could cause irreversible damage to the tree or shrub. The most common thing people do that kills trees is over-pruning, improper pruning or pruning in the wrong season. Read “DIY Disasters: Yard Maintenance Mistakes”.

Transplanting trees and shrubs in the fall is a great idea! By planting trees in the fall, long before permafrost kicks in, you have a much longer season to allow the tree roots to get established. You don’t want to wait too long, so if you plan on transplanting a tree you should aim to have it in by the end of September.

Flower Bed and Garden Maintenance

Clean up your flower beds by removing the last of the weeds or any other debris you don’t want growing in there. This would also be a good time to remove this year’s annuals so you don’t have to do it in the spring.

Plant bulbs in the autumn! Flowers bulbs like crocus, hyacinth, daffodils and tulips will thrive underground rewarding you next spring as they come to life with beautiful blooms! If you have a veggie garden, autumn is the time to plant garlic and shallot bulbs. They should be ready to eat by next summer.

Yard Maintenance with RenovationFind offers a full directory of trusted trades and home improvement companies in your neighbourhood.  Whether you’re a do-it-yourself and require landscaping materials and supplies or you’re looking for a company to take care of your lawn care and maintenance for you, you’ll find accredited companies who provide high quality service and products on our directory.


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