A thorough yard cleanup in the fall will save you a heap of time and effort in the long run. It can get pretty snowy in Simcoe, and leaving the yard messy for months while that snow keeps piling up will leave you with a dire situation once spring rolls around. To keep your yard looking top-notch and prevent the buildup of bacteria and debris, go through all the items on this checklist before the snow arrives.
Your Complete Fall Lawn Cleanup Checklist
Fall Leaf Cleanup
Arguably the most important part of fall yard work, raking all the fallen leaves is an absolute must. If you leave them behind over winter, they’ll get soggy and brown. Not only is a mat of decomposing leaves unsightly, but it can harbour a lot of bacteria, smother your grass, and hinder lawn growth. It’s a good idea to rake the leaves up little by little, every week or two throughout October and November, so you aren’t left with one giant pile to tackle in one day. You can accomplish two fall chores at once by keeping some of your raked leaves and layer them onto your garden bed as mulch. The mulch will help keep your perennials and bulbs insulated, and the decomposing leaves will benefit the soil by delivering nutrients to your plants. You’ll just have to dispose of them once the snow melts.
Garden Clean Up
Start by removing any remaining annual plants, since they won’t be sticking around for spring. Next, if any weeds have sprouted up at the last minute, pluck those guys out and toss them. Try to loosen up the soil as well, because it can get a bit compacted by the end of the year. If you need to top up your topsoil with a fresh bag, now is a perfect time to do that. If you aren’t a fan of using leaves as mulch, we recommend picking up some bark mulch and applying a layer to your garden beds.
Give Your Trees And Shrubs Some Light Pruning
For most trees and shrubs, it’s usually best to prune in spring. However, some perennials and fruit trees will benefit from a light clean up before winter. As well, if you notice any diseased or dead branches on any of your plants, you should nip them off before winter arrives. Remember always to disinfect your shears between cuts on diseased plants, and dispose of or destroy the infected pieces to help prevent bacteria from spreading. Suckers and shoots that form around the base of your shrubs can also be taken off at this time—it will help them to grow fuller and healthier in spring. If you have any plants that tend to attract slugs, such as hostas, you can cut off any leaves that may have eggs hiding on them once the plant has gone dormant for the season.
Clear Out Your Gutters
While it’s certainly no one’s favourite yard maintenance task, it’s certainly a necessary one. If you’re unable to reach up to your gutters and do it yourself, check online for fall yard clean up services in your area. If too much debris builds up in your gutters, you’ll risk some severe issues resulting from inadequate drainage. If a buildup of water keeps freezing and thawing during those transitional days from fall to winter, your roof could sustain some significant damage, and you might end up with some leaks. Remember to wear protective gloves if you’re removing the junk yourself!
Put Away Garden Furniture
As much as we love patio season here in Simcoe, at some point, we need to say our goodbyes to the garden furniture and pack it up until next year. Outdoor seating, garden decor, playsets, and any breakable water features like birdbaths or fountains should be stowed away safely in a dry spot in the garage or your basement.
Cover Your BBQ
If it’s under a sheltered patio, you don’t have to worry about covering it up, but if your BBQ is out in the open, you’ll want to invest in a good cover. Luckily, you can still remove it throughout the winter and keep on grilling if you’re willing to brave the cold! The best covers are unlined canvas—they’re the most weatherproof, and you won’t have to worry about rodents chewing away at the lining. If you can’t get a hold of a canvas cover, polyester or vinyl should suffice. Make sure the cover has ties to keep it secure, so it doesn’t end up blowing away on a blustery day.
Getting your yard all ready and cleared out in time for winter can seem like a bit of a daunting project, but the key to making it manageable is breaking it up into smaller tasks. No need to stress yourself out and do it all in one weekend! If you need any supplies for your fall yard clean up, such as protective gloves, mulch, or a new rake, or if you need some assistance with a particular task, don’t hesitate to visit our garden centre in Simcoe! We’ll get you all set up to tackle this project like a pro.