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Fall Yard Clean Up

After a summer of fun, you can ensure a great fall by taking on just a few simple weekend tasks. This guide will help you prepare your yard and garden for a stress-free fall.

Tree Trimming and Pruning

🗹 If you’ve got large limbs to remove—6-inches in diameter or more—it’s best to work with a heavy-duty, gas-powered chainsaw to deliver the necessary power and torque to handle large, dense limbs.

🗹 If you’ve got some smaller branches to clear, a tree pruner will suffice and allow you to reach up high.

🗹 Once you have your tree trimmed, run the branches through a chipper to make mulch for your gardens.

🗹 You can also use a log splitter to make firewood out of the limbs and use them in the winter to help heat your home.

Clean Your Gutters

Clean your gutters twice a year to ensure proper drainage away from your home and your home’s foundation. Depending on the height of your home, you’ll most likely need an extension ladder to reach your gutters.

🗹 Remove the leaves that accumulate on your roof with a roof rake. Simply position the rake behind the leaves and pull forward until they fall off the roof.

🗹 Once you’ve climbed up to your gutters, put on some waterproof gloves and scoop the leaves out by hand. Just remember to always keep one hand on the ladder for safety.

🗹 You can also take a half-gallon milk jug and cut the bottom off. Then cut into the sides at a 45-degree angle. Grip the handle and use it as a tool to scoop out the leaves.

🗹 Another option is to use a pressure washer gutter cleaner attachment. It’s curved to fit easily into your gutters and shoots a powerful stream of water in opposite directions.

🗹 Now that you’ve got your gutters all nice and clean, consider topping them with a gutter guard to help keep them leaf-free.

Remove Leaves from Your Yard

🗹 Leaves left on your lawn may result in withering or dead grass, so it’s best to remove them before any damage can be done.

🗹 To help speed things up, consider using a leaf blower. Choose from gas-powered, electric-powered, cordless, and backpack models. There are also dual-function blowers that vacuum leaves and turn them into mulch, lessening the amount collected and bagged by as much as 90 percent.

🗹 Rake or blow the leaves into manageable piles so that you can easily dispose of them.

🗹 To make the bagging process easier, try a bag bone. It fits securely inside paper lawn bags during cleanup and is easily removed when you’re done. A lawn and leaf chute is another option.

Mow and Feed Your Lawn

🗹 Set your mower to a low setting and give the lawn a close buzz before winter sets in. This helps the soil dry out more quickly in the spring, which leads to a lusher lawn.

🗹 Send your yard into winter with the nutrients it needs to survive the long, cold sleep. Add a fall lawn fertilizer with high phosphorous content to encourage root growth and enjoy a lush, green lawn come spring.

🗹 Aerating your soil by breaking it up to keep water from pooling will guarantee that nutrients will reach the roots over the winter. A garden fork will do the job for small yards, but larger yards may require a walk-behind aerator, which should be available to rent for a reasonable price.

🗹 TIP: If removing the leaves is not an option, run your lawnmower over them a few times to cut them into smaller pieces, essentially turning the leaves into mulch to help keep your grass healthy during the winter.

Divide and Plant

🗹 If your perennials really took off this year, go ahead and spread the love. Divide plants and add them to other beds where they will also do well. This saves money and time in the spring. Fall-blooming perennials like chrysanthemums shouldn’t be divided now—wait and divide them in the spring.

🗹 Some plants do best when planted in the fall. If you want to add new shrubs or spring bulbs like hyacinth, now is the time to get them in the ground. Fall annuals like pansies are also a great addition to keep some color in your yard as other plants go to sleep.

Prep Your Garden

🗹 After the final harvest, pull out old vegetable plants and remove debris. If you compost, now is the time to add a layer of compost to help nurture your soil for planting next spring.

Dry everything out

🗹 Drain all water from hoses, fountains, and drip irrigation systems, and store them in a dry place. Water left standing over the winter may damage your equipment.

🗹 Cover outdoor water spigots with inexpensive spigot covers to help prevent them from freezing.

Clean and Store Tools

🗹 Don’t throw your gardening tools in the shed and forget about them until spring. Take time to give them a good cleaning and add a light coat of oil to prevent rust during the cold season.

Prep Engines

🗹 Gasoline left in place over the winter will deteriorate over time and gum up your engine. If you run old gasoline through an engine, it could potentially ruin the carburetor and end up being expensive to repair or replace.

🗹 You can add a fuel stabilizer to stabilize fuel through the winter and prevent the formation of gums and solids that will clog fuel injectors and carburetors in the spring.

If you follow this checklist, you’re bound to have a wonderfully winterized yard and garden that will set you up for a lovely spring!

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