5 Things to Do in your Outdoor Space This Fall
Fall is such an amazing time of the year! We love the cool, crisp air, and of course, the foliage. It’s also one of the best times to make serious improvements to your lawn and garden. We put together a list of five relatively simple ways you can enhance things around your home (besides cleaning up leaves). A warning of sorts: these aren’t exactly the most glamorous things to do. In fact- some (like aerating) can temporarily make things look a bit strange. The efforts are worth it and we guarantee you will be much happier as soon as your lawn and garden break dormancy next Spring!
1. Aerate, fertilize, and overseed.
Next Spring seems far off, but your lawn will really appreciate aeration, fertilization, and overseeding accomplished this Fall! Believe it or not-Fall is generally the optimal time to make improvements of any type to turf (or install a completely new lawn). Cooler temperatures mean weeds and unwanted plants (such as crabgrass) are less likely to germinate. After a few months of mowers, hot sun, foot traffic, and other influences that compact soil, aeration will be a much needed breath of fresh air for root systems and facilitate nutrient flow from fertilization. Happy roots equal denser turf, which will prevent native weed seeds from germinating the following Spring due to increased competition from desired grass.
2. Move things around (i.e transplant)!
Transplanting, even when accomplished correctly is an incredibly stressful experience for most any plant, tree, or shrub. No matter how careful you are, roots will still generally need to be cut. The specimen also may have to acclimate to different soil types or Ph, as well as adapt to different lighting than it was used to in its previous home. Technique used and the characteristics of the plant itself will generally dictate the result, but timing (as with most things that have to do with gardening) is a major influence. The good news is, Fall is the very best season to make changes with existing garden due to milder temperatures, (usually) and more predictable rain patterns. Relocated plants will have a head start on re-establishing before going dormant (if timed correctly) and be more ready to show off their beauty when things warm up again.
3. Take back what’s yours! Clear brush and weeds that encroach on the edge of your lawn.
Brush and invasives are very good at what do- which is take over space and spread throughout the woods until they reach your lawn edge. Unfortunately, brush and invasives are not very good at respecting boundaries and over time will take over lawns if left alone. While not a glamorous or particularly easy task, it’s important to keep your wood/lawn line clear, and Fall is the best time to tackle a project such as this. Cooler days make hours of monotonous trimming and laborious work way more enjoyable for a plethora of reasons. Many species have thorns, which most people prefer as much protection as possible (like long pants and sleeved shirts or jackets). Dragging tarps and bundles through the woods to the desired dumping location is often simpler as well, with less (or no) leaves on surrounding vegetation. Lack of foliage on trees and shrubs also gives you the advantage of scoping out a great spot to place lawn debris. While debris production is a normal part of maintaining a home in wooded areas, it will be inherently obvious if you’ll be able to see unsightly piles from your home or lawn before you designate the location (or add to an existing one). There is nothing worse than having to remove or relocate a tangled pile of decaying litter, so choose wisely!
Once you’re done removing unwanted plants around the edges, it’s a great time to seed/overseed edges that may have been deprived of sunlight, or even expand an existing lawn!
Information regarding invasive species in Connecticut can be found here courtesy of UCONN.
4. Take advantage of end-of-season sales (and plant them!)
“50% off ALL Perennials!” is a pretty common sight toward the end of Summer as nurseries and garden centers try to offload their stock to prepare their greenhouses and facilities for Winter. They know that most homeowners are eager to get out in their gardens and plant the pretty new blooms as soon as the ground thaws and save the “deals” for the end of the season when stock may look less appealing. Thankfully, the plants offered are usually just as viable and healthy as they were in previous months. Everyone likes instant gratification, but this is generally the smartest move (as far as plant purchasing goes) that someone can make. While the pretty flowers may be absent, you can still get an overall good look (possibly better) at the overall health and shape of the plant with less distractions. Beyond live specimens, garden centers often discount manufactured product as well since the demand is typically less, so shop around and look at anything else you might need around the garden.
5. Get rid of unsightly stumps.
Oftentimes, the cutting of a diseased or unwanted tree is the easy part- it’s dealing with the unsightly stump that frustrates the average homeowner. They are generally unattractive, sometimes harbor pests (especially if it was a diseased tree in the first place) and get in the way of mowers. While stump removal may not necessarily be “simpler” in the Fall (despite any of the various methods homeowners and landscape or arbor professionals use) it’s a great time to do it, especially if you are using heavy equipment (like specialty grinders and excavators or tracked machines) which may tear up turf in the process of moving to the location. In case you forgot, Fall is the best time to repair or install new turf- so your cleanup efforts will be a ton more successful if accomplished at this time.