Early Fall Landscape Tasks


As autumn officially approaches, it may be time to look at your landscape again. The heat of summer can really be tough on a yard. One of the first things to do is a brief walking survey of your property. Do you see any places in the grass that are dying, thin or bare? If so, you will need to fix them. What about your hedges? Do they need trimming? Are there any holes that need filling, or high areas leveled? What about any washed out areas, or areas not allowing water to drain? These issues are things that should make for good fall projects.

Looking at the lawn…If you notice any holes, or high spots it is good to take care of those in the beginning as they can be a trip hazard. If you will dig in your yard though plan to call Alabama 811 first and let them mark your utility lines for free. That way you will know where any underground utilities are located and be able to avoid them. Once you have the utilities located, you may move the dirt from high spots and fill in the low ones. If you cannot use the dirt from the high spots, then picking up topsoil at your local hardware store and using it to fill the holes can be an inexpensive fix. If you are having drainage issues you may have to add pipe, or even get a professional involved. For the bare spots (or newly repaired areas) you will need to decide what to use to cover them. If the ground is hard, you may choose to rake, or hoe it over to loosen the dirt. You may also use a tiller to break up big areas and make them more suitable for grass to grow.

Once the area is ready for grass, decide whether you will sod the area, seed it, or use a grass mat. After choosing the best option for you (including the grass for the area of lawn you are working on) you can fill the bare areas and water them regularly. As the grass takes root it can grow deep before the cold of winter appears, or the heat of summer reappears.

Now that the lawn is in shape it is a good time to prune the hedges before the first frost. If you see dead spots in them it is a good time to cut them out. If you have been wanting to replace a shrub (or tree), September would be a good month to do that. By pruning in September you allow the hedges to settle before winter. You can typically cut back the hedges during winter if you wish, but sometimes the weather may not be as conducive to working outside as it will be in September. Planting shrubs, or trees during early autumn allows them time to grow their roots before winter dormancy begins. That way when summer returns they can have a stronger root system which should help them fight off the effects of heat and less water than normal.

Whichever task(s) you work on in September you should see the benefit of a better looking landscape not only then, but also in the next year.