10 TIPS TO TURN YOUR LAWN & LANDSCAPE AROUND THIS FALL
An ideal time to freshen things up
Whatever came before this, fall is when we get to start fresh. This year that meant a late and pretty extreme drought that did a real number on our lawns and landscapes. Excessively dry weather often goes hand-in-hand with pest problems, and our lawns and plants are wearing their health, or lack of it, on the surface.
But we’ve always felt like fall was the fix for just about anything.
Temperatures are going to begin getting cooler in the evening, and the sun will feel a little kinder and gentler. Fall also typically sees more moisture, which is the perfect recipe for planting and reseeding your lawn.
We’ve gathered our top 10 tips to help freshen up your lawn and landscape this fall.
1) Sharpen your gardening tools and mower blade.
Let’s start with the basics. Our resident tool expert visits every two weeks, so drop off your tools and mower for a quick sharpening. We see a lot of people do this toward the end of the season so everything is in optimal working order come spring.
Clean cuts encourage healthy growth in your grass, trees and plants and you’ll notice the difference.
2) Test your lawn and garden soil if you’ve had issues or questions.
This is especially important if you are on a new construction site.
Did you know soil pH testing is free at Bedford Fields? Dig down about 3” below the surface, then bring in a bag of soil from a few locations in your yard for a representative sampling.
Results will give us insight into how to support soil fertility and pH.
For comprehensive testing, visit the UNH Soil Testing site.
3) Walk your yard.
Best done with a cup of coffee or cocktail. Take note of any empty spaces in your landscape, ailing perennials or trees, thin or bare patches of lawn and if you have any special ideas in mind.
We like to snap photos along the way to jog our memory later.
4) Plant things you love.
After you’ve removed any spent annuals and cleaned things up a bit in your landscape, it’s a great time to plant a favorite tree, shrub or group of perennials. You can shop many online, but we recommend visiting in person to find your perfect match.
Choose plants you love, but make sure you choose the right plants for their spaces. In other words, choose plants that thrive in your shady spot or low-lying wet area, full sun border, etc.
Fall is one of the best times to plant because the weather is normally on your side, with cooler days and evenings and more moisture. Take a peek at our Planting Guide if you need a little help along the way.
5) Clean out your containers.
After a long, hot summer, let’s start fresh. Give your containers a good clean with warm, soapy water. Then add fresh potting soil before replanting to give your plants valuable nutrients. It’s worth the extra step.
Refill with fall favorites like perennial grasses, ornamental peppers, cabbage, kale, asters and mums.
6) Vigorously rake your lawn.
It’s common after brutal summer heat to have some thin or bare spots due to lack of water and disease. Wake up the surface of your lawn by giving it a brisk rake to remove any dead grass.
For an evenly thicker lawn, now is a good time to aerate to relieve soil compaction and increase nutrient availability. You can rent an aerator or hire a professional.
Aeration is also a great way to make soil more hospitable for overseeding.
7) Prepare the seedbed.
Before reseeding spots or patches in your lawn, we recommend top-dressing with a light covering of nutrient-rich topsoil like Premium Monhegan Top Soil Blend by Coast of Maine. Loose topsoil will give your seed direct contact with fertile soil and a place to establish itself.
8) Engage your seed of choice.
Gently rake seed into the top ½-inch of soil for rapid, uniform germination. If you’re spot seeding (rather than overseeding an entire lawn or seeding a new lawn) we’ve had great results with Jonathan Green’s Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed.
9) Water generously.
Water deeply, being careful to avoid water run-off or puddles. Then water daily for the first three weeks (unless there are extreme temps, then twice-daily watering may be necessary), keeping the surface moist so seeds and seedlings don’t dry out.
During weeks 4 and 5, water every other day to keep the roots sufficiently moist. After week 5, your lawn should be established and require only about 1” of water/week.
10) Finish off with mulch.
Top your freshly cleared and planted landscape beds with a fresh new layer of mulch. It looks fantastic, of course, but it’s also your best, most natural defense in keeping moisture in, weeds out, insulating your plants’ roots over winter and feeding them next spring.
Have questions or need help choosing plants or other materials? Please stop in or give us a call at (603) 472-8880. Plus check out our blog resources for proper planting technique, water and fertilizing guidelines and much more.