Chelsea Burns, Content Editor
October 4, 2023
The mornings have cooled down, the layers of clothes are stacking up and the leaves are turning to their orange and golden hues… fall is here! And we’re going to guess that one of the last things on your mind is your yard. While you often think of jumping into your garden in the spring, it’s actually just as important to do a few things in the fall as well.
Just like most things in life, our soil and gardens need a resting period which is exactly what they get in the winter. You may have heard the term “putting the garden to bed”? This helps to ensure your soil has everything it needs to properly winter so that it’s in the best shape possible once the next planting season comes around. Here are some ways you can make sure your soil is ready for bed.
Leave the Leaves
You may have the urge to rake all of your leaves and bag them up to tidy the yard, but it’s actually much better for your garden and yard if you let them lie. Leaves can act like a mulch to help suppress weeds but they also work like a fertilizer for the soil as they break down and share their organic matter with the earth. Another reason to leave the leaves: Many animals and insects use them to create a home throughout the winter.
Adjust your mower's height to leave grass slightly longer during the fall months. Longer grass blades help retain moisture and provide better insulation against temperature fluctuations. Additionally, consider leaving grass clippings on the lawn. They act as a natural fertilizer, returning nutrients back into the soil.
Let the Soil Breathe
Aerating your lawn allows for better air, water, and nutrient penetration into the soil. This promotes strong root development and a more resilient lawn. Use a manual or mechanical aerator to create small holes in the soil, especially in high-traffic areas.
Pause on Pruning
You’ll also want to wait to do any pruning of your perennials until spring at this point. When you cut the plant it makes a “wound” that won’t be able to heal over before winter comes. Pruning also signals to the plant that it should but energy into growing new life in that area but it won’t be able to and any new growth likely won’t make it.