All season long, it’s important to properly care for your plants, trees, and shrubs. But did you know caring for your grass is just as important?
In Part 2 of our post on Fall Lawn and Landscape Maintenance, we’re teaching you about properly caring for your grass and perennials as the cold weather continues to roll in.
There are two major schools of thought regarding pruning of grasses: 1. Grasses can be cut anytime during the year to about 4″. 2. For the avid (or natural) gardener: leave grasses all winter long because they add structure, beauty, and interest through the winter. If you do leave them through the winter: cut them down in February or March so new growth can emerge apart from the old dead growth. Some homeowners preferring a more polished look can cut down their grasses in the fall so that the landscaping is clean and manicured. The best time to cut them down is in the latter part of October or November.
Fall is the best time to divide your grasses to move them around the property or give them to friends. You can dig them up, divide them in half or quarters, and replant. Larger grasses when undivided over time can start to die away in the center of the grass.
Almost 90% of perennials (plants that “die away” each winter and grow back every spring (“naturally regenerate” by storing energy in the root structure during the winter)) can be cut down to 1”-2” in the fall. Some perennials have beautiful winter interest and can be left through the winter and cut down in February or March. Perennials that get “messy” and unkempt in the late fall should be cut down.
Make Tea and other Remedies:
Some perennials like Echinacea (Coneflower), Lavender and St John’s Wort can be cut and used to make tea for immune system boosting, depression, anxiety, and other ailments. Please contact your healthcare professional for further instruction on preparation and which parts of the plant can be used for these purposes.
If your perennials are newly planted, mulch around the base of the plant to insulate roots. Do not mulch on top of the perennial as it will destroy the plant.
Fall is the best time to divide your perennials to move them around the property or give them to friends. You can dig them up, divide them in half or quarters, and replant. Larger perennials when undivided over time can start to die away in the center.
Fall Lawn Care Tips:
Dethatch your lawn
Aerate your lawn
Seed and fertilize
If you have grubs (you will see white worms after you aerate), treat with lime per manufacturer’s recommended application method
Blow or rake off all the leaves
Gather them up and remove, because if they sit they will do damage to the lawn.
One suggestion for the avid(natural) gardener is to blow the leaves into the beds so that the leaves can insulate and protect the plants through the winter. This could replace a fall mulching with shredded mulch. For the homeowner that prefers a manicured landscape look, the leaves can be blown or raked and removed off of the property.
In a matter of days, it often feels like the weather around here goes from “where’s the fall relief” to “is it springtime yet?” If you have ever had these thoughts, you’re not alone. Along with you and the team here at Plant, your lawn and plants have the same feelings, too. To help alleviate some of those winter woes, we’re rounding up easy ways to preventatively care for all of your outdoors greens this year.
In Part 1 of our post on Fall Lawn and Landscape Maintenance, we’re talking all things trees and shrubs. Check out these simple ways to keep your trees and shrubs happy and healthy all season long.
Give all trees, shrubs, landscape, and lawn a heavy soaking before the weather consistently freezes at night
Mulch an additional ½” – 1” around the roots of trees and shrubs and perennials in the fall before winter sets in to insulate the roots. Avoid mulching against the trunk of trees and shrubs as this promotes trunk rot and can damage the bark long term.
Not all trees need to be pruned. Wintertime is a great time to prune trees because the branching structure becomes more prominent and apparent. Thinning out tree limbs and small branches inside the branching structure allow them to grow without crossing branching structures. Crossing branching structures can damage and wound a tree in the more long-term growth habit.
Pruning depends on the time of year, your type of tree, and your design aesthetic.
Question: what is your preferred manicured look for your landscape?
Many ornamental trees (Crepe Myrtles, Dogwoods, Ornamental Maples etc) should have the small branches and the new growth removed from the ground to 5’-6’ up to showcase the beautiful branching structure and allow landscape lighting to cast a cleaner light pattern.
If a stake is on a tree more than two years it should be removed, otherwise, the collar will begin to eat into the trunk and branches and create wounds and permanent scarring.
Normally lose the third years’ needles and they collect at the base of the tree. It is preferable to leave them because it adds winter protection and the needles break down to feed the tree. Although fall Deep Root Feeding is recommended, not much other maintenance is needed.
If your shrubs are established (over three years), you don’t need to mulch it in for the winter, but if the shrubs are newly planted within three years, you want to mulch around the root structure (not against the trunk of the shrub). Some sensitive shrubs in PA’s hardiness zone like Crepe Myrtles will appreciate yearly fall mulching.
We recommend against fall fertilization of your shrubs. The intention is to discourage new shrub growth in the winter. It is preferable to fertilize in the spring.
Shrubs should be pruned in the fall to your desired aesthetic. Although hand pruning with clippers is the most ideal method, some shrubs can be pruned with powered hedge clippers to a neat manicured look. The best method for hand pruning is to do one of the following:
Manicured look: use hand shears
Natural look: Hand prune with clippers to the desired look and shape
Many people think that landscaping and planting is best when done in the early spring. Here are 5 myths exposed about fall landscaping! Thankfully Shady Brook Farm’s experts at PLANT are here to help your planting and landscaping get done right!
Roots take time. Planting in the fall will give your plants time for their roots to develop and become established so that the spring will produce the vibrant shrubs and perennials you envisioned! Make sure you keep watering until it freezes so that your plants do not dry out or get winter burn.
Spring lawns depend on Fall maintenance. Fall weather is the best weather for seeding and aerating your lawn. As the ground temperature drops, the percentage of seeds that germinate also drop – so aeration helps loosen soil so that grass roots can have access to the air and water needed for growth.
Cool afternoons in the autumn weather are amazing! What is better than enjoying a cool afternoon with friends and family on the patio, deck, or around the firepit? It’s a great time to design and build your dream backyard.
More time could mean more damage, and more costly repairs. Fall is a great time to inspect sidewalks and patios for cracks, broken pavers, or to re-apply sand and fix any damages. If you wait, water and dirt may freeze over the winter in cracks, which causes the space to expand and cause greater damages.
Well, if we are honest, the cool temperatures are our favorite times to work! We love transforming backyards in the fall so you can enjoy the outdoors now, and start your backyard picnics as soon as Spring arrives!