GREEN IMAGE LAWN AND GARDEN FALL CLEANUP GUIDE
Fall cleanups are more then just picking up leaves. Its about making sure your garden and lawn is healthy, protected and looking beautiful for the winter season. After a fall clean up you should be exited that your plants are properly cared for, your soil is in good health and your lawn is well prepared for the winter months.
The Necessary Fall clean up Checklist
1. Clean up leaves in order to make your place not look like it has been cared for. The best way to do this is with a blower, blowing all the leaves out of the beds is much easier and effective then trying to rake leaves out. Once you have all the leaves in a pile or wind row, there are a few things you can do with them
- Take the leaves away- this is a service that most companies offer, taking away leaves is the easiest and cleanest way to finish a clean up. everything we take away is dropped off at a local composting center to turn into a compost that can be used on gardens in Victoria.
- Mulch the leaves- There are a few ways to mulch leaves but the most time effective way is to run over them with a lawn mower! This mulches the leaves very well especially if you have a twin blade lawn more. Once mulched leaves can then be placed on the garden beds and act as a very effective mulch.
- Put the leaves in a separate pile for composting- I will go over composting in a later blog post but essentially the two important things you need in composting are carbon and nitrogen. Leaves act as a great source of a carbon layer for your compost. Some people like leaving a pile of leaves next to their compost for later use in the spring.
2. Cut down all perennials. Perennials are plants that die back in the winter and come up again in the spring. It is important to cut these back as some of the dead leaves can become a great home for diseases and fungi that will be detrimental to other plants in your garden. Not everything that is browning out is a perennial so make sure to identify what is and what is not a perennial in your garden!
3. Once the perennials have being cut back and all the leaves are off the shrubs if we notice dead branches or branches that should not be growing where they are we take the time to prune them off. Additionally, if a shrub is very out of shape we will prune it back to a normal shape.
4. We like to separate the garden and lawn by putting in a nice defining edge. This is great to do in the fall because the soil is nice and soft and we can easily make those clean crisp edges.
5. Apply mulch. The main purpose of a mulch application in the fall is to provide a protection from temperature changes in the soil. In Victoria we can be known for having a few cold snaps followed by some warmer days. Although those warmer days are a blessing for us, the root system of plants do not like it. By putting down a mulch in the fall, you protect the soil from having these temperature changes by putting a nice blanket over the soil. We will discuss mulches in a later post but you should know it does not always have to be bark mulch that is put down. Some popular mulches we like to use are fish mulch and leaf mulch!
6. We have spent all this time on the gardens and leaves but what about the largest plant species you have in your yard-GRASS! Going into fall we want to make sure your grass has developed deep roots, is healthy, and the soil is right to discourage moss growing. To acomplish this there are a three things we want to do during the fall clean up
- Aerate your lawn
- Fertilize using a fall fertilizer which is high in a Phosphorous. We will talk about fertilizers and using the right fertilizer in another blog post.
- Apply Lime- this will change the PH of the soil to make it more unfavourable for moss to grow.
7. At this point in the clean up your leaves are cleaned up, perennials cut down, Lawn is healthy and ready to get through the winter, shrubs are looking proper and your garden beds are clearly defined and have never looked better! The mulch that is put down really gives a finishing touch to the project, all the garden waste is in the back of the truck. Whats left? What’s left is a final blow of the driveway and patios and one last walk through to make sure your property is looking up to the standards we set at Green Image Lawn and Garden.