CHARLOTTE – As the fall season closes in, you must get your landscape ready for the work ahead. Start about six weeks before the first hard freeze.
Do an Assessment
Take a walk around your garden areas and look at how all the plants did over spring and summer. Note successes and failures of individual plants. Identify which plants have outgrown their space and need to be divided.
Check for Diseases
Check the overall health of plants — look for diseases and damage.
Replace summer annuals in window boxes and garden beds with cool-weather flowers. You’ll want to weed, deadhead faded blooms, divide overgrown plants, and dig up non-hardy bulbs for winter storage. Amend soil by adding compost or peat moss to replace nutrients lost during summer growth and to better prepare the soils for spring planting. Add mulch where necessary but don’t over-mulch – a 2 to 3-inch layer from the bare ground up is sufficient.
Seeding the Lawn
Fall is the ideal time to sow cool-season grasses such as fescue; it will give the seeds the opportunity to germinate and develop a good root system before freezing temperatures arrive.
Fertilizing the Lawn
Fall is also the best time to aerate and fertilize your lawn, preferably with slow-release, all-natural fertilizer. When given adequate nutrients, turfgrasses can store food in the form of carbohydrates during the winter months. That will mean a better-looking lawn come spring.
And While You’re At It …
Take time to straighten up and organize your garden storage shed, tossing old chemicals — responsibly of course — and taking note of what you’ll need to replenish before next spring. For your lawn and garden tools, rub metal tool surfaces with a light coating of oil; rub wooden tool handles with linseed oil; and sharpen everything that needs sharpening with a proper file or grinding machine.