10 time-saving tips to give your backyard a head start on spring
(ARA) - Aaaah, autumn. The kids are headed back to school, the leaves are
turning, and a chill is in the air. If you're like most homeowners, fall also
means an opportunity to spruce up your yard and cut down on the work you'll
need to do when the weather turns warm again.
It doesn't matter if you're a seasoned landscape professional or somebody
who just wants their yard to look as good as it can with as little work as possible,
everyone can benefit from backyard fall cleanup, says Michael Miller, president
of Minnesota-based backyard tool manufacturer Hound Dog Products. "A little
bit of work in the fall will really pay off when spring rolls around,"
Miller offers 10 tips that the professionals use to ensure a successful backyard
fall cleanup effort - and to get a head start on next year's growing season.
- Rake those leaves. Once the snow flies, an unraked layer of leaves can
get matted down over the turf and smother it all winter long. Raking or
using a mulching mower in the fall helps avoid dead patches in the spring.
But don't worry about getting every last leaf, especially in the garden.
They help insulate plants, and as they decompose, they provide valuable
- Feed the grass. Fertilizing in the fall is like a day at the spa for
your lawn. Using a slow-release fertilizer allows the grass to soak up nutrients
and - just as important - spend the cool days and nights of autumn recovering
from summer heat and stress. And building a healthy, rejuvenated lawn is
one of the best ways to protect against heat, cold, drought, insects and
- Weed all about it. Weeding in the fall is probably the most valuable
thing you can do to prepare for spring, and it's one that many people overlook.
The good news: Pulling weeds used to be a backbreaking chore, but tools
like the Weed Hound have come a long way from the tiny weeding forks of
"the good old days." There's no reason to get down on your hands
and knees and gouge at the turf. All you do is place the tool over the weed,
step lightly on the footrest, and pull.
- Pick up the poop. When the snow melts next spring, the last thing you
want to see on your lawn is pet waste. Fall is the perfect time to get out
there and clean up Rover's little leftovers. Don't look forward to getting
on your hands and knees? Hire a neighborhood kid to do the dirty work, or
invest in a long-handled pooper scooper.
- Remove thatch build-up. A build-up of aboveground roots called thatch
prevents sunlight, oxygen and moisture from getting to the nutrient-hungry
soil below. But it's easy to remove, especially if you don't wait until
it overwhelms the yard. Just go at the yard with a dethatching rake in early
fall, or for an easier - but more expensive - option, rent a power dethatcher.
- Aerate. Heavy use throughout the summer can cause soil to become compacted.
Perforating your lawn with small holes helps reduce compaction and lets
water, air and fertilizer get down to the soil, which strengthens the grass
plant's root structure. For smaller yards, a manual aerating tool that removes
plugs from the turf while you step should be just fine. If you've got a
larger yard, consider renting a power aerator.
- Water trees and shrubs. Dehydration during the colder months is an all-too-common
cause of tree damage, but it's easily preventable. To sustain them over
the long winter, it's important to give trees a drink before putting them
to bed. After they go fully dormant - but before the ground freezes - use
a soaker hose or root irrigator to water them thoroughly.
- Clean out your garden. Fruits and vegetables left in the garden can
rot all winter long, and provide a comfy home for insect eggs. Gross? Not
as gross as they'll be in the spring. Now's the time to get rid of diseased
plants, too, but keep them out of the compost pile so the problem doesn't
spread to the rest of your garden next year.
- Plant spring bulbs. Fall is not all about closing up shop. It's also
the perfect time to plant spring flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips.
But pay attention to the weather in your area; planting too early can cause
bulbs to sprout before winter, and planting them too late can mean their
roots don't have enough time to develop before the ground freezes.
- Give your tools a tune-up. When it comes time to put away the backyard
tools for the season, don't just shove them into the garage or shed. Spend
a few minutes wiping them down and removing debris and dirt, then apply
a light layer of oil to keep them from rusting over the winter. That way
they'll be all set to go again come spring.
Old Man Winter may be on his way, but with a little work now, you can lay
the groundwork for a happy, healthy backyard that's ready to thrive next season.
For more backyard tips, visit www.hound-dog.com?.
Authors Website: http://www.aracontent.com/
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