September and early October is the best time of year to do those last few yardwork jobs before winter. It's still sunny and warm, but not so sweltering hot as to make the work unpleasant. Most of these tasks can also be performed as a team, giving your family a weekend of fun while getting the job done.
Here are the top five things you should do before the snow flies:
1. Weed, Fertilize and Mulch
Remove any remaining vegetation from your gardens, including weeds. If you've kept up with weeding throughout the summer, this shouldn't take too long. Removing the last of the weeds will keep your garden that much healthier for next year. Fertilizing will add nitrogen to the garden over the winter, and if you turn the soil now, it will be easier to work in the spring. As a last step, cover your garden, flowerbeds and shrubs with leaf mulch or straw to give a layer of protection from the cold.
2. Trim and transplant
Some flowering trees and bushes shouldn't be trimmed in the fall, because their buds are set for spring. But for most, now is the time to trim back overgrowth. Dead limbs should definitely be removed, as they will likely give way under the weight of snow or winter winds. Fall is also the proper time to transplant shrubs or perennials.
3. Cut the lawn one last time
Usually, the best thing about fall is that you don't have to worry about the grass growing any taller. But don't put up the lawn mower just yet. The best height for that pre-winter cut is 2 to 2½ inches. Any longer, and your lawn will have a hard time drying out once spring comes and the snow melts, which leads to mold. For the same reason, you'll want to make sure you've raked up all the cut grass along with fall leaves.
4. Repair cracks and damage
Concrete structures such as patios and walkways as well as asphalt driveways should be repaired and sealed before the winter weather causes more harm. Anywhere that water can enter or collect and then freeze can cause a great deal of damage over the course of the winter. Small projects can usually be done with a sealer from the hardware store, but large driveway cracks may require additional equipment and/or professionals.
5. Winterize your tools
One of the most important yardwork jobs to do before winter is to properly store your yard tools. Lawn mowers should be cleaned and dried, with any caked-on dirt or grass removed from the mowing deck. Metal implements should be cleaned with wire brushes to remove rust and, in most cases, oiled to prevent further corrosion. Turn off outside spigots, and empty excess water from hoses before storing them. Tools that run on gasoline should have fuel stabilizers added to them to ensure they work in the spring.
Want more tips to keep your yard looking beautiful and healthy? Contact us at Coldwell Banker Rizzo Mattson Realtors for advice on all your home ownership needs.