No other season mimics the intensity, color, and glow of a sunset than Fall.  Its distinct look is matched only by its sound, smell, and feel.  I love to open the door and find my welcome mat has been replaced by a colorful swath of leaves.  They crunch and rustle beneath my feet, and dot the landscape like jewel toned confetti.  They are as beautiful on the trees as they are on the landscape below, but their presence in our lawns and gardens could spell trouble.  The leaves must be removed as we prepare our yards for their Winter slumber.  It’s time to think about Fall clean ups.

Leaves, in large quantities, must be removed or mulched in order for our lawns to breath and receive adequate sunlight.  A thick matting of leaves can choke a lawn, inviting disease, infestation, and infection, like Snow Mold.  Leaves can be raked and bagged, and in some instances, mulched.  The mulched leaves can be added to a compost pile or spread around beds, which will help protect plants while adding additional organic matter to the soil.  Generally speaking, mulched leaves should still be removed from the lawn, but you can certainly use them elsewhere.  This is not to say that every last leaf must be removed.  You just don’t want a layer sitting atop the lawn.  Once you’ve gotten the leaves under control, it’s time to turn our attention to other areas of our yard.

Continue to clean up and weed flower beds.  Weeds can still harbor disease and insects.  Cut back perennials and ornamental grasses, although the latter can certainly be left for Winter interest.  Apply mulch to beds, about 2-3″ deep.  Prune deciduous trees after they go dormant.  Pay special attention to diseased, broken or crossing limbs.  Spring flowering bulbs can still be planted, but the window of opportunity is quickly closing.  Harvest any late season vegetables or fruit and remove all debris and rotten vegetation. Aerate and overseed the lawn.  Clean out gutters.  Clean and store gardening tools, and remember to drain and store hoses.  Ornamental grasses, interesting seed heads/pods, and berries can be left for Winter interest.  Take a few moments to think about what worked well this year and what didn’t, and lastly, call Sweeney’s today to schedule your Fall clean up.  Preparing your landscape for Winter’s wrath will help ensure its viability and health come Spring.

“Bittersweet October.  The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.”

-Carol Bishop Hipps

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney