With the heat of summer just a memory, now’s the time for Maryland and northern Virginia homeowners to tackle some fall landscaping tasks. We’ve pulled together a checklist to help you care for your trees and shrubs, lawn, and garden beds.
Let’s get started.
Tend to Trees and Shrubs
October can be a great time to plant new trees and shrubs. If you didn’t have enough shade this summer, or you had shrubs die in the heat, choose shade trees and drought-tolerant shrubs to plant. Planting in the fall allows trees and shrubs to develop a good root system before the heat of summer.
Keep your newly-planted trees and shrubs well-watered. While we may get fall rains to help, if the weather is dry, be sure to water deeply once a week.
Avoid Fall Pruning
Ideally, you or your landscaping company took care of pruning and shaping your trees and shrubs in the spring or summer. You want to avoid pruning in the fall because it encourages new growth – the opposite of what you want when they are about to go dormant for the winter.
You can remove dead or diseased branches from trees and shrubs. Wait until they are fully dormant to remove any branches that are growing into your home or overhanging your roof.
Love Your Lawn
Fall is a great time to help your lawn recover from a hot and dry summer, as well as prepare it for winter. A few tips:
Rake the Leaves, or Mulch Them
1. Letting leaves pile up on your lawn will kill the grass underneath. Either rake and bag the leaves, rake them into piles at the edge of your property to compost or go over them with a mulching mower.
2. Aerate a Compacted Lawn
You can rent a lawn aerator or ask your lawn service to aerate your lawn. The aerator removes small cylinders and plugs of soil. This helps reduce soil compaction and allows grass to develop a deeper root system, as well as make better use of water and fertilizer.
3. Feed the Lawn
If you haven’t already, apply lawn fertilizer or winterizer to help your grass green up more quickly in the spring. You can do this application in late October.
4. Overseed Bare Spots
Don’t bother to apply lawn fertilizer to the bare spots (if any) in your yard. Instead, focus on getting new grass seeds to sprout. You can get grass seed with a coating that will help it get started easily. Follow the directions and overseed as early in October as possible for the best results.
Give Garden Beds Some TLC
Most of your annuals and perennials have finished blooming, and have dried up by now. But the weeds are still hanging on. Do one last round of weeding in your garden beds. Remove spent annuals. You can trim woody perennials down about a foot off the ground. This leaves enough foliage and stalks for beneficial insects to call home.
Now is also a good time for planting spring bulbs. Apply mulch as needed.
Related Reading: Planting Spring Bulbs: What You Need to Know
Consider Hiring Professional Landscapers
If all this sounds like too much work, consider hiring professional landscapers like LiveWell Outdoors. We offer several fall landscaping services, including:
- Seasonal cleanup
- Monthly landscape maintenance (weeding, pruning, mulching)
- Changing out flowers
- Planting new shrubs and trees as practicable
Set up a consultation today to get on the schedule!