5 Fall Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid

raking fallen leaves from backyard lawn

When fall arrives, your grass doesn’t go dormant. In fact, cool-season grass doesn’t actually go dormant until the temperature consistently remains at 45 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. What actually happens during the fall is that grass roots absorb and retain as many nutrients as possible to ensure better growth in the spring. This is why continuing to maintain your grass in the fall is so vital. 

In this article, we will highlight the top five fall landscaping mistakes homeowners make that actually impact the overall health of their lawns, starting with not watering.

1. Not Watering

If there is one difference everybody notices between summer and fall, it’s the humidity. Cooler air and lower humidity mean grass and yard plants are thirstier than they were during the summer. The dew you see moistening the grass in the morning simply isn’t enough to keep your plants and grass hydrated.

Lawns typically need one inch of water every week. It’s easy to keep track of how much rainwater your lawn receives—just place a small bucket outside where rain can freely fall. That way, you don’t need to keep running sprinklers.

When it comes to scheduling your daily watering, we recommend early in the morning, preferably before 10:00 a.m. Waiting until later in the day to turn on sprinklers accelerates the evaporation of water and prevents soil saturation. And, watering in the evening doesn’t give droplets enough time to soak into the soil and could lead to the development of fungal lawn diseases.

2. Skipping Aeration

Next, you’ve probably heard about aeration, but maybe have been hesitant to do it. A lawn aerator makes many tiny holes in the soil and uproots dense thatch. Lawn aeration makes it easier for nutrients, air, and water to seep into the soil and reach grass roots. In addition to watering, aerating your lawn in the fall:

  • Improves Uptake of Water in Soil
  • Increases the Exchange of Air Between Atmosphere & Soil
  • Enhances Benefits of Fertilizer
  • Reduces “Puddling” on Lawns
  • Builds Stronger Grass Roots
  • Boosts the Ability of Lawns to Tolerate Heat

3. Pruning Procrastination

In addition to skipping aeration, you also shouldn’t skip out on pruning. 

Perennials should be pruned in October, before the cold weather really sets in. Neglecting to prune perennials could result in them not flowering the following year. Annuals (petunias, geraniums, impatiens) should be removed completely, as they will not grow back the following year.

The best time to remove or prune flowering plants is after they have finished blooming. Additionally, you will want to research the perennials that you do have to ensure that they actually do need to be pruned, as there are some plants that don’t require it, including: 

  • Azalea
  • Forsythia
  • Flowering Peach, Plum, or Pear Trees
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Viburnum

4. Neglecting Young Trees

Just like your annuals and perennials, you shouldn’t neglect your trees either, especially when they’re young.

Recently planted trees are considered young when they are in their “infancy” and “youth” stages. Young trees that need extra care have pointed tops and slender branches that extend several feet upward. If your growth includes young trees, purchase special tree wraps to protect these vulnerable trees from freezing winter temperatures.

Benefits of wrapping young trees include:

  • Protection from Bark Splitting During Winter
  • Prevents Insect Damage
  • Prevents Damage from Wildlife (Rabbits, Deer, Squirrels, etc.) 

Tree wraps are made from polypropylene fabric, layers of thick (craft) paper, corrugated cardboard, or burlap. If you’re not sure what kind of tree wrap is best suited for your young trees, you can contact our landscaping experts at Design One.

5. Discarding Fall Leaves

The final fall landscaping mistake you need to avoid is discarding any fallen leaves. If you feel the urge to rake up all of those fallen leaves in your yard, don’t! 

Laves offer excellent fertilizing and mulch advantages for garden beds and lawns, but they shouldn’t be left to sit on your lawn, as that can cause damage.

Instead of discarding leaves, consider using them as mulch or sticking them in your compost bin. To learn more about whether mulching or composting leaves is the better option for you, please read our Compost Versus Mulching blog post

Get More Tips & Quality Landscaping Services from Design One

Right now is the best time to winterize your lawn. If you’re looking for more fall landscaping tips, get in touch with our team at Design One. We’re a premier landscaping company in Michigan offering professional hardscaping and landscaping services. 

Learn more about how we can help you by scheduling a consultation.

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