Homeowners can ensure their yards are ready for next spring by following this checklist:
1. Keep mowing. Continue to cut the grass until the first hard frost. Find the just-right length for the grass species—typically 2 to 3 inches—to keep it healthy as the weather turns cold.
2. Ready outdoor power equipment. Clean and inspect the mower, trimmer, leaf blower, pruner, and hedger. Make sure accessories used in the fall, such as aerators and mulching attachments, are in good shape as well. Take any equipment that needs it to an authorized service representative. When it’s time to store the mower for winter, be sure to empty the fuel tank; fuel left in the mower can thicken and damage the equipment.
3. Aerate the lawn. Aeration prevents soil from becoming compacted and covered with thatch—a thick layer of roots, stems, and debris that blocks water, oxygen, and nutrients from reaching the soil.
4. Mulch leaves. Put down that rake. Mulching leaves and leaving them on the grass rather than raking and bagging them is good for the lawn and the environment. As shredded leaves decompose, they feed the yard naturally. Now is the time to shop for a mulching attachment or a mulching mower.
5. Trim and shore up trees and bushes. Fall is the right time to look for and trim low-hanging branches that might break in the winter and cause damage. Call a tree service if needed.