It’s that wonderful time of the year again. Isn’t it great to be living in the Salt Lake City area? We’ve got falling leaves, cool temperatures, high school and college football games, and Halloween. It’s also the time of year for some important yard cleanup. Make it a tradition! Spending a Saturday or two working on your yard now will pay off next spring and all next year. In addition, fall yard cleanup will keep your yard looking neat, trimmed, and well cared for until our Utah snow flies.
1. Rake leaves.
Ok, I admit it. This task make take more than one Saturday. Everywhere you drive along the Wasatch Front, you see beautiful maple trees. Those leaves and others are going to be falling everywhere before we know it. Raking can be fun, especially when you get the whole family involved and jump in a few leaf piles. Raking is also important. Leaves must be raked and bagged or mulched. If they are left on your grass they can suffocate it. Also, rotting leaves can attract unwanted pests.
Keep mowing your grass until it stops growing. You may want to consider dropping the mower’s blade lower the last few mowings. This allows more sunlight to reach the crown of the grass, actually keeping it greener longer. Find out if you should bag your lawn clippings or not. It depends based on your lawn.
3. Mulch your leaves.
Many lawn mowers have a mulching function on them. Mulching leaves can make them usable in flower beds as a fertilizer. You can mulch some of your leaves and leave them on your grass as well.
4. Trim trees and shrubs.
Trim out of place branches.Tree trimming in Utah can be tricky. Look for branches hanging too low that might be in the way or dangerous with snow on them. Shape and trim bushes. Doing so will keep them looking great into spring. This is a great time to prune back rose bushes.
5. Drain hoses and drip systems.
Put them away in a dry place for the winter. Turn off your sprinkler system and drain it as well. Freezing temperatures are on their way. Do all you can to protect your watering systems.
6. Clean out your gutters.
Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about our gutters. Fall is the perfect time to clean them out and make sure they are all draining correctly. Use a garden trowel to scoop any debris out of them. Use a hose to wash them down. In Utah, snow piles up then melts again and again. You will need working drains this winter.
7. Plant trees, shrubs, and bulbs for spring.
Now is the perfect time to add a new tree to your yard or to get those tulip bulbs planted.
8. Pull out broadleaf weeds from your lawn.
Dandelions are a common broadleaf weed that is actually a perennial. Even when the frost kills them this year, they will be back next year. The fall weather is so beautiful you may actually enjoy digging a few up.
9. Water thoroughly.
Watering now may sound counterintuitive to you, but watering now is important in keeping your lawn healthy going into the winter months. Your lawn will do better over the winter and in the spring if you can avoid stressing it.
10. Till your garden.
After your last harvest, pull up the old plants and till your entire garden. Now is a great time to add a layer of compost to help prepare your soil for next spring.
11. Fertilize your lawn.
Apply fall lawn fertilizer a few weeks before the first frost. Mid October is a great time to do so. Look for fertilizers with a high nitrogen and phosphorus content.