Fall Landscaping: 4 Must-Dos to Keep your Yard Vibrant come Spring
Remember the Ellsworth House? If you recall, the backyard was a mess – full of overgrown shrubs and bushes. We knew we wanted to make the backyard an extension of living space; a place for relaxation, entertaining, and enjoyment.
Torrison Stone & Garden designed a new backyard for the Ellsworth House, taking an unusable space and transforming it into a backyard worthy of attention.
Now that it’s fall, we went back to Torrison for fall landscaping tips. Colleen Kinyon, Landscape Designer and Garden and Property Manager, gave us four must-dos for fall yard clean up. Follow these tips this fall, so your yard never looks like the Ellsworth “before” photo.
1) Remove Leaves
This must-do might seem obvious for New Englanders, but do you know why it is so important to remove leaves in the fall? If leaves stay on the ground through the winter months, they will suffocate the grass underneath it. As leaves stay on the lawn, they begin to break down, making the soil more acid-based.
“Leaves remain wet, cultivating mold, fungus, and disease that affects the lawn,” says Kinyon. “If you wait until spring to remove leaves, you will uncover dead grass.”
In addition, leaves create more hiding places for ticks. With tick-borne diseases so prevalent in Connecticut, clearing leaves gives ticks one less place to hide.
2) Cut Back Perennials
Cutting back perennials is another item to do now, rather than waiting for spring. If heavy snow presses down branches, they can snap or break. Perennials start their regrowth in early spring when it is still chilly and windy. Cutting the perennials ensures you don’t have to go out on those cold spring days, and gives plants the space they need for regrowth.
3) Protect Shrubs and Trees
Tying burlap over shrubs and smaller trees offer protection against bitter wind in winter months. Take a look around your property to see what plants are especially vulnerable to wind. The side of the house or backyard usually do not offer enough protection for plants.
“Cold winds cause winter burn for plants,” Kinyon explains. “Especially in Connecticut, where winds are coming in off the water.”
Burlap also protects these plants from snow. When snow piles up in the middle of plants like arborvitaes and sky pencil holly, it pulls the branches apart or causes the branches to snap. A simple way to prevent this is to tie burlap around the plant with twine. If snow can fall off the roof onto plants, you will want to protect those even more.
4) Final Mow
As fall nears its end, mow the lawn a final time. If the grass is too long, it will fold and lay down on itself. Just like the leaves will compress and develop mold, so will long grass. This kills the grass under the snow. Don’t put your lawnmower away until the morning frost prevents new growth.
Not only will these must-do fall cleanup tips keep your property looking better throughout the winter, it also gives you a clean slate come spring. As the snow melts, you will be greeted by healthy grass and plants ready for new growth.