With fall here, you may think general lawn care is just about over. But fall is an ideal time to fertilize the lawn. This last dose of TLC before the cold will lay the foundation for a healthy beautiful lawn when spring rolls around.

Fertilizers come with a formula. You will see three numbers which designate the formula for lawn fertilizer. A common number is 5-10-5. The first number is nitrogen which promotes blade growth. The second number designates phosphorous which promotes root growth. The last number is potassium. This helps with cell function and promotes absorption of trace elements.

September is the best time to fertilize. The grass is generally still recovering from the stress of sun, heat, and water fluctuations from summer. A higher ratio of nutrients makes for stronger root systems and strengthens the blades for the coming cold and snow.

Ideally, have your soil tested. The most common mistake homeowners make is over-fertilizing their lawns, and the best way to prevent this is to test the nutrient and chemical make-up of your soil. Most home and garden stores can offer these testing procedures.

By late October or early November it will be time to fertilize again. At this point you will want a high phosphorous boost to get the root systems healthy for frost. A good boost of phosphorous gets the roots tough and bolstered for the stresses of winter. Root health is crucial for a strong and healthy lawn come spring. This also makes you lawn resistant to disease and drought.

Take care with how you spread lawn fertilizer. Another common mistake with fertilizing the lawn is careless spreading, and this leads to environmental issues.

Some experts caution against using lawn fertilizer because it contributes to unnatural flourishing of surrounding natural plant systems. The key is to be careful with how you spread.

It is not the use of fertilizer that is the problem. It is messy spreading which distributes unnecessary nitrogen and other nutrients into surrounding natural ecosystems. When this happens it can damage wetlands, streams, and lakes. Just take the time and care to keep the fertilizer in your lawn.

Proper soil testing will allow you to spread only what is necessary rather than dousing the lawn with nutrients it does not need. Grass and shrubs will not suffer for this over-feeding, but it will inevitably run off and into surrounding ecosystems.

Fall is in fact an ideal time to prepare the lawn for the next year. Fertilizing in fall helps preserve and fortify your lawn through the winter and makes certain that spring growth is healthy and appealing to the eye.

Fun Fall Decorating Ideas for your Lawn

Fun Fall Decorating Ideas for your Lawn

With the change of the seasons we are again presented with the fun of decorating for fall. Creating that “curb appeal” with the autumnal themes is always fun.

There are, of course, the standard pumpkins and Indian corn displays, but we thought we could get a little but more creative this year. Here are a few innovative and fun fall decorating ideas for your lawn.

Innovative Wreathes: For those on the seacoast, you may want to accent fall wreathes with items directly from the sea. Placing urchins and seashells within the traditional array of pinecones and dried pine boughs makes for a fall wreath which speaks to life on the coast. Add things from the beach for texture and color.

Dressing up old items: You can use old lawn and garden tools as media for creating ornaments around the porch and lawn. One company recommends weaving traditional wreath items into the end of an old leaf rake. You will combine tradition with creative re-use projects (Eclectically Vintage_).

Mix up the gourds: When it is time to put out pumpkins along the walkways and around the yard, experiment with other gourds to create depth, texture, and color. Layer them and interlace them with ivy and other greens to create a pumpkin patch along your walkway and lawn.

Getting creative with your mums: Fall is the time to display mums. We put out these hearty flowers for a reason—they are beautiful and they stand up to the season. Get creative with placing your mums. Try placing them in an old wagon, bushel basket, or wheelbarrow.

Fall border garden: Planting the border garden is an ideal way to dress the lawn for fall. We can suggest Coleus, ornamental okra, and red leaf fern for a vibrant fall bed. Plant short to tall, front to back to allow maximum growth for the plants and maximum appeal to the eye.

We could go on with ideas for fall outdoor decorating, but the upshot here is to get creative. A mix of the traditional fall ornamental plants and decorations with some contemporary flair makes for a fantastic lawn and garden.

Fall Clean-up Checklist for Your Lawn

Fall Clean-up Checklist for Your Lawn

The sun-lovers will lament and those who embrace the return of cooler days will rejoice, but the fact is we are rounding the final weeks of Summer. It is time to think about transitioning from backyard barbecue space to fall cleanup and preparation for the colder months.

There are number of things to pay attention to as we prepare for Fall cleanups. Here is a concise checklist to think about.

Final mowing: When we start making the final preparations for Fall you will want to give the lawn a thorough going-over. Get the turf down to about 1 and ¼ inches, but do not go too low. Grass makes most of its nutrients in the upper blade. But it is important to get the turf cut back.

Keeping it cut back helps prevent diseases which afflict grass. Cutting the lawn back also makes it easier for fallen leaves to blow across with nothing to latch on to.

Aerate: Breaking up the soil to prevent water from pooling makes it possible for nutrients to reach your lawn and garden over the Winter. A simple garden fork will suffice for small plots, but if you have a large yard or garden, you may need a walk-behind aerator.

Clean out debris: Fallen leaves and over-grown weeds make for ideal hiding places for insects and other pests. Simply going around the lawn and garden to make sure things are raked out and clean will make it difficult for pests to get a foothold in your lawn and garden.

Till the vegetable garden: Once you have gathered the final harvest, clear and till the entire plot. Just turning things over for the Fall and Winter will ensure the plot is ready for planting next year. If you compost, this is an ideal time to put down a layer of compost.

You do not need to spend a week prepping for the colder months, but it does make sense to put in some final days of garden work to get ready for Fall. These few tips should render your garden and lawn in good stead for the happy return of Spring.

Ideas to Beautify your Lawn and Garden for Fall

Ideas to Beautify your Lawn and Garden for Fall

With Fall coming upon us we will want to make the transition to beautifying the lawn for the cooler months. Shorter and cooler days should not deter us from working in the yard and the garden. Quite the opposite, there are plenty of ideas for things to keep us in the lawn and garden for Fall.

Fill bald spots: Starting on a practical note, Fall is the perfect time to fill in and re-seed bald spots in the lawn. Most lawn and garden stores sell what is called a lawn repair mixture which contains seed and fertilizer to lay the bald areas for re-growth in the Spring.

Edge beds: Putting in beds around the edges are a fantastic way of adding dimensions to the yard for Fall. Planting hearty herbs which will hold up to colder weather is fairly easy. Mint, parley, rosemary, and lavender will all hold up in the colder months of Fall and into Winter.

Add Texture to Shady Spots: Using shade loving plants you can add texture and even color to the shady areas of the yard and garden. Ferns and “Patriot” hostas will thrive in the low sunlight and add depth to the lawn and garden. These plants are low maintenance and require little attention beyond planting.

Plant perennials: While the Fall foliage will happen all on its own, why not add your own in your yard. Smokebush, witch hazel and small ornamental maples will provide you with your own contribution to the spectacular color changes of Fall.

There is plenty left to do in the garden and yard as Fall approaches. In fact, this is one of the best times of the year to get out into the grass and the beds and create the ideal space for Fall.

Late Summer Planting Tips

Late Summer Planting Tips

We are rounding the last weeks of summer and it is time to start thinking about the kinds of things best suited for late Summer planting. In fact, there are quite a few things which are best suited for late Summer, and there are a few gardening tasks which come around at this time of year that you will want to manage in order to keep your garden beautiful.

We have just a few tips that should get your garden in shape through mid-Fall.

Water Everywhere: Late Summer, the dog-days, are often hot and dry. It is critical to stay on top of watering. Your beds and planters are going to dry up faster than your think.

Deadhead your Flowers: This is the time to start cutting back any old blooms. This will prevent them from setting seed. Your roses will thank you by continuing to bloom for several more weeks. Small flowers like pansies can be gently pruned back with a pair of shears.

Planting Plants: It is not a good time to start things from seed. Put small growth from planters in the ground in late Summer. This is actually a fine time to re-plant hardy herbs such as thyme and mint. These will do well in late Summer and continue to flourish for weeks to come.

Late Summer Vegetables: Cauliflower, broccoli, and onions are all happy to go in the ground in late Summer. These are tough vegetables that will grow right into Fall. Spinach and radishes will also hold up from late Summer into Fall.

Just because the days are getting shorter and we can sense the coming of Fall does not mean we are finished with our Summer gardens. There is still plenty of life in the garden and plenty of work to be done.