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17 easy things to do now to prep yards for fall weather

CANTON, Mich., the online store for replacement parts for outdoor power equipment, home appliances and heating and cooling equipment shared 17 tips for prepping yards for fall.

Easy, end-of-summer yard work can dramatically improve the health of your yard, Jeff Linderman, in-house landscaping expert, said. Spread out the work over a few weekends to save yourself time and energy. Doing this work now will provide a healthier yard when spring arrives and reduce maintenance required in fall.

Here are 17 easy things to do now to prepare your yard for fall:

1. Perk up mulch.

Use a basic yard rake to redistribute mulch. This will enable water to get to the roots faster.

2. Even out mulch around trees.

A common mistake is to pile mulch tall like a mountain, Linderman said. This makes it more attractive to pests. Its best to even out the mulch around the trees in the shape of an inner tube, leaving few inches of space between the mulch and the tree.

3. Determine what type of fall fertilizer is best.

In most parts of the United States and Canada, fall is the most important time of the year to fertilize lawns, Linderman said. Applying fertilizer in fall will result in a far healthier spring lawn. Unfortunately, many people dont take the time to figure out what kind of fertilizer is best for their region and yard conditions. Its wise to visit local garden or landscaping centers for advice about this so that youre ready.

4. Repair a damaged lawn.

Late summer provides good opportunity to re-seed bare patches and revitalize dry spots before the temperatures drop and lawn growth slows.

5. Prune wisely.

Pruning of bushes and other vegetation should be done with great care, Linderman said. Its easy to over-prune. You dont want to trim away new growth.

6. Plant spring bulbs now.

In most regions, planting spring bulbs now, rather in than in spring, is wise because it provides a longer period for roots to strengthen.

7. Remove dried out leaves, twigs and branches.

In lieu of burning them, turn them into nutrient-rich mulch for your lawn.

Its easy to create mulch from twigs and branches using a wood chipper, Linderman said. Wood chippers are available to rent from home improvement stores at an affordable rate.

8. Tune-up your lawn mower.

Tune up your lawn mower to improve efficiency, reduce emissions, prevent end-of-summer breakdowns and get it ready for off-season storage.

9. Fix and/or tune-up your leaf blower.

Test your leaf blower and repair any problems to avoid any fall downtime.

10. Prep gas-powered outdoor power equipment for storage by adding fuel stabilizer to fresh fuel.

After adding the fuel stabilizer, run the equipment for a couple of minutes. This will prevent buildup within the carburetor.

11. Remove dead leaves and branches from perennials.

Clear dead leaves and fallen fruit from your perennials living space to reduce its pest appeal, Linderman said.

12. Aerate.

Aeration is the process of moving air between soil and its surroundings. It plays an important role in the healthy growth of grass. It occurs naturally but the development of thatch (a mix of dead grass and other debris) makes it more difficult for this to happen on its own.

Using a garden fork or professional aeration tool, remove small plugs of thatch and soil to foster natural aeration, Linderman said. Creating passageways will enable greater water intake, make way for valuable microorganisms and worms, maximize the benefits of fertilizer, promote healthier roots and make the lawn more heat and drought tolerant.

13. Stock up on burlap.

Burlap is an inexpensive way to prevent weed growth in garden beds, Linderman said.

14. Dethatch lawns.

Thatch, which is a layer of dead grass and other debris, can build up on the soil, impeding growth of the grass, blocking water from reaching the roots and creating a haven for fungal diseases. Before fall leaves hit the surface, remove thatch using a basic rake.

15. Plan for fall colors.

Even if summer blooms are still thriving, think about mums and other staple fall flowers that youll use in their place, Linderman said.

16. Keep your lawn at least two to two and half inches tall.

By the end of the summer, many people have yard-care fatigue, Linderman said. They may adjust their lawn mowers cutting height to cut the lawn shorter to reduce required mowing. This can cause lawn health problems.

Cut only one third of grass blade length in a single mowing. Shortening the blades will reduce energy available to obtain nutrients required for healthy root systems.

17. Evaluate your yard and plan ahead.

Take the time now to think about what you like about your yard and what needs improvement, Linderman said. Residential landscaping should always evolve. Figure out how you want your yard to be different in the spring. Youll likely find that there are many things you need to do now to make it easier in the when the new season arrives.

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