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When Fall comes around, we typically think of golden colored trees and visits to the local pumpkin patch. However, it also means it’s time to get your yard ready for winter. Doing some Fall cleanup will save you time and energy when spring rolls around. Which, in turn, keeps your family safe in the yard year-round. Make sure you get the most out of your yard by following our Fall cleanup checklist must-do’s.

1. Clear out any loose debris.

Fallen leaves and overgrown weeds are the perfect place for pests to settle in for the winter. So, begin by clearing out your flower beds to make it less inviting for pests.

2. Till the vegetable garden.

After your final harvest, pull out old vegetable plants and till the whole area. You could also start a compost pile to help nurture your soil for planting next Spring.

3. Trim over hanging tree Branches.

Trim up any large or out-of-place tree branches that may cause trouble during the winter. If you fail to do this, you take the chance of branches breaking and falling during the snowfall.

4. Clear out the gutters.

Contrary to popular belief, not all Fall cleanup is in the yard. Take the time to remove debris from rain gutters. You can check for proper drainage by clearing out any blockages and rinsing with a hose.

5. Dry everything out.

Drain all water from fountains and other types of irrigation systems. Water left sitting over the winter may freeze, expand, and damage your equipment. Check out our post on how to drain your sprinkler system to prevent blow-outs.

6. Aerate your yard.

Break up soil to keep water from pooling. This will ensure that nutrients can seep down and reach the roots over the winter. A garden fork will do the job for small yards. However, larger yards may require a walk-behind aerator, which should be available to rent for a reasonable price.

7. Feed the lawn.

Feed your yard nutrients to help it survive the long, cold Winter. You’ll want to use a lawn fertilizer with high phosphorous content to encourage root growth. This guarantees you enjoy a lush, green lawn come Spring.

8. Rake and mulch.

If you let layers of leaves accumulate on your lawn, they can suffocate the grass. Rake them up, shred them, and use them as mulch for young trees, shrubs, and flower beds. You could even skip the raking part if you use a lawn mower to mulch the leaves.

9. Prune trees and shrubs.

Trim any dead branches and cut back overgrown trees and bushes. This sets your yard to be ready for new, healthy growth come Spring.

10. Give your yard one last mow.

Set your mower to a low setting and give the lawn a close buzz before the Winter. This helps the soil dry out more quickly in the Spring, which results in a lusher lawn.

11. Protect cold-sensitive plants.

Keep sensitive perennials, shrubs, and roses in top shape through the cold days of Winter. To do this, add mulch to the base and wrap plants in cloth barriers. This prevents damage from freezing temperatures. Depending on the hardiness of the plan, you can use a single sheet or blanket or a combination of cloth and plastic to keep them warm.

12. Protect your deck.

Mold and mildew grow easily on an unprotected deck during a wet Winter. You can prevent this by giving the deck a good power wash. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can rent one from a garden store. Once the deck is clean and dry, add a weatherproofing stain. This protects the wood from moisture damage over the winter.

By following this Fall cleanup checklist you’re taking the steps in properly winterizing your yard. This will ensure a beautiful looking yard with lush green growth once warm weather comes around.

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