Fall Maintenance


For many of us, the arrival of fall brings with it the perfect opportunity to maintain our outdoor decor and landscaping. We can all remember the old adage of "a stitch in time saves nine." This is especially true for fall maintenance of your plants, lawns, and ponds. Some of the simple tasks that we often neglect can help to ensure an easier and more fruitful spring. Whether you are new to landscaping or are an old pro, you will be better able to enjoy the results of your timely maintenance in the coming spring.

The passing of summer should not mark the end of the landscape season. In fact, fall conditions are ideal for planting, pruning, and mulching. The fall growing season offers most of your landscape plants the perfect opportunity for success. The warm fall soil encourages root growth while the temperate weather and more reliable rainfall offer every advantage. Plants started in the fall are more likely to flourish in hot dry months of the following year because their root systems are more established than that of plants grown in the spring. Temperate weather also means that you should think about transplanting any patio tropical plants you'd like to keep for next season. Most tropical plants tend show signs of damage once weather falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants that have already established themselves in the landscape will profit from selective pruning in the fall. Remove out any diseased, damaged, or dead branches from your trees and shrubs. This will prevent disease from lingering and giving you headaches in the spring. Also, remember to trim and treat plants you bring inside. Rest assured that if you have had plants outside, they will have some hitchhikers when you bring them indoors. Using a general insecticidal soap to treat the plants you bring inside will help prevent dealing with unwanted houseguests over the winter. The last bit of plant maintenance for the fall is mulching. Shortly before the ground freezes, add mulch to the landscape to raise the freeze line, protect the plant root systems, and encourage earthworm activity closer to the surface. Consider the type of mulch you plan to use as this will affect how deeply you should mulch. As a general guide, use 6" of leaves, 4" of wood shavings, 6" of straw, or 5" of compost for fall mulching.

Spring is the classic time to see friends and neighbors hard at work fertilizing their lawns, but if you have a cool season turf grass, your best time to fertilize your lawn is now. Fertilizing warm weather turf grasses will interrupt the hardening off process and hinder the ability of the grass to deal with winter. Cool weather turf grasses, such as bluegrasses, bentgrasses, fescues, and ryegrasses, will benefit from a healthy fertilization of 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Regardless of your lawn variety, also consider that fall is the best time to apply broadleaf herbicide, correct soil pH, or dethatch your lawn to remove compacting clippings or leaves.

When the temperature starts to drop, water garden needs change. We should stop most pond treatments and above all, stop feeding our fish. The latter of the two is difficult for most of us because as we continue to see and enjoy our fish, we can't help but think they must be hungry. Once the water temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, however, fish will not be able to digest food properly and may even die from overfeeding. Additionally, any uneaten food falls to the bottom of the pond and contributes to the problems caused by decaying organic compounds. Tree leaves, pond plants, and fish food will undoubtedly build up on the bottom of your pond. Upon settling to the bottom, it begins to decay and rob the pond water of oxygen. In addition to big temperature swings, the reduced oxygen will stress the fish and reduce their survival chances over the course of winter. Regular removal of debris from the pond's bottom in the fall or the use of skimmers and pond nets will take care of most of the problem and offer the best chances for a worry-free winter and spring.

These suggestions taken together will give you the best chances for a smooth winter and an easier spring, and will help give you the landscape anyone would be proud to call their own. BestNest carries an array of products to help you complete your fall maintenance; anything from pruners, planters, and spreaders, to pond nets and deicers. Be sure to check out the selection of products below as well as all our exciting products at BestNest.com. For more personal assistance, call our customer service line toll free at 877-562-1818 from 9 AM to 5 PM Eastern Standard Time Monday through Friday.