Fall Yard Cleanup Checklist
Get your yard prepped for winter and in shape for spring with this checklist of fall cleanup tasks.
Clean up and maintain your yard before the snow flies to prepare it for a lush and tidy spring. Finish these tasks before winter sets in, and you have a dozen good reasons to rest assured your yard will be in the best shape possible.
- Inspect Your Yard. Take stock of your lawn, garden, and living spaces to determine the priorities. Look for problem areas in the lawn, overgrown bushes, and shrubs, clogged gutters, or anything that may require extra effort.
- Clean debris from the yard and garden. Cleaning includes raking leaves, clearing flower beds, removing weeds, and clearing gutters. Debris accumulated in fence corners, under shrubs, against raised beds, wherever you find it, attracts pests and can even foster plant diseases.
- Prune twigs, branches, and bushes. Cut back overgrown shrubbery, trees, and bushes. If you have perennials that bloom in the spring, fall is an ideal time to prune them.
- Attend to the lawn. Repair the lawn by seeding bare spots. Aerate the lawn to loosen the soil, which helps to provide grass roots with water, nutrients, and air. De-thatch your lawn to remove decaying patches of grass layered over the topsoil, which assists in effective watering and fertilizing. Feed the lawn by applying fertilizer and weed control.
- Clean gutters. Clear the gutters and downspouts to allow easy drainage. If you clean gutters before raking the yard, you can toss all gutter debris to the ground where it can dry and get raked up with leaves.
- Dry lawn and garden equipment. Empty water from hoses, bird baths, fountains, and anything that contains water to avoid damage.
- Maintain the irrigation systems. Using an air compressor, blow the water out of the system either yourself or professionally. Inspect the system, looking for and repairing cracks or parts showing wear and erosion.
- Mow the lawn. A final mow at a low setting will keep the lawn from looking ragged and helps the soil dry out more quickly in the spring, resulting in a healthier lawn.
- Divide perennials. Fall is the best time to divide and distribute plants to other beds. However, wait until spring to divide perennials that bloom in the fall, like mums.
- Pamper and add plants. For sensitive plants, add a layer of mulch to the base soil and wrap the plants in cloth to prevent damage from freezing temperatures. Now is the time to plant bulbs and shrubs that do well when planted in the fall.
- Clean the garden shed and tools. Take all your garden tools out of your garden shed and give the shed a good cleaning. Then, clean and dry your garden tools before putting them away for the winter.
- Weatherproof the deck. Give your deck a good scrubbing or power wash. When dry, weatherproof the wood with a stain or exterior waterproofing product.