Fall cleanups are an essential step in lawn and landscape maintenance for your property in Des Moines, West Des Moines, and nearby central Iowa communities. With the winter season right around the corner, certain lawn services and treatments must happen to protect your plants and other softscapes from the harsh weather.
If you'd like to limit the amount of lawn and landscape care that your residential or commercial property will need come springtime, check out what fall maintenance you should have done by using this 2020 Fall Services Checklist!
1. Rake and Remove Fall Leaves
Your lawn needs adequate air, water, and sunlight to produce the nutrients it needs to grow healthy and green. Fall leaves left all over your yard blocks these crucial elements from reaching the grass.
A leaf-ridden lawn is a hotbed for pest infestations, mold growth, and lawn disease. Removing dead leaves and raking up the debris from your yard will help keep it healthy throughout the fall and winter until spring.
2. Aerate and Overseed Your Lawn
Compacted soil occurs over time due to your lawn constantly being trampled on by heavy machinery and people walking across it. This can impact the way your grass grows because it can prevent the root system from properly absorbing nutrients found in the soil.
Fall aeration solves this issue by poking small holes into your soil to help remove the thatch buildup, thereby allowing for better nutrient absorption. When combined with overseeding, your lawn can see thicker, healthier growth and increase its resistance to pests and lawn disease.
3. Winterization Fertilizer Treatments
A dry, brown lawn is an unattractive sight in early spring. That's why it's especially important to apply one last lawn fertilization treatment before the winter season.
The last round of yearly fertilization treatments is applied in late October to give your lawn proper food storage that lasts through the winter. This will help minimize disease and promote deep rooting in late fall after your grass goes dormant. Once spring arrives, your lawn can tap into those stored nutrients and begin to grow in lush and green.
4. Mow Your Lawn One Final Time
For places like Des Moines, Iowa, that deal with harsh winters, keeping your grass at a short length is vital to keep it healthy during the cold season. Grass that is too high can experience winter kill and make it susceptible to a fungal disease known as snow mold. Allowing one final lawn mowing service is essential to protecting your grass.
The ideal height to keep your lawn at is 2 1/2 inches. Cool-season grasses may still need periodic mowing in the winter. Just be sure not to cut it too short and try to keep it to every 3 to 4 weeks.
5. Trim and Prune Your Trees and Shrubs
Trimming and pruning are important for maintaining the health of your plants, shrubs, and trees. Both words are often interchanged with each other but are done for different reasons.
Trimming involves cutting back any overgrowth and shaping your tree and shrubs to improve their aesthetic appeal. Pruning is when all dead or diseased branches and foliage are removed.
Damaged branches can break under the weight of snow and harsh winds and potentially damage your property. Trimming and pruning trees in the fall puts less stress on the tree limbs, reduces the spread of winter diseases, and helps rejuvenate the plants for new growth in the spring.
6. Cut Back Perennials
Cool-season perennials are plants that have a strong chance of surviving in harsh climates. Most perennials need minimal winter care, but some fall maintenance is necessary to ensure they survive into the spring.
Cutting perennials back when they go dormant can protect the plant or shrub from freezing and helps them grow back stronger and healthier in the spring. These plants naturally die back, so removing the dead and yellowed foliage will help discourage fungal growth, pest infestation, and other diseases. Adding an inch or two of straw or different type of winter mulch can also prevent the perennial's roots from freezing.
Some of the most popular cool-season perennials include azaleas, poppies, daylilies, and Siberian irises.
7. Winterize Your Irrigation System
Irrigation systems need winterization services performed in the fall to protect them from moisture damage and freezing during the cold season. Water left in the lines can freeze, expand, and create cracks throughout your system. Part of the process involves blowing out the lines to discharge any water remaining in the pipes.
Once spring begins, your irrigation system will go through a spring startup and inspection to ensure no damage or breakage occurred during the winter.
Being proactive about winterizing your irrigation system saves you time and money. That's why hiring a professional is always recommended. If the shutdown is done incorrectly, it can cause serious damage to your sprinkler system.
Learn more about A+ Lawn & Landscape's fall services to prepare your property for the winter season!
Preparing your lawn and landscape for the winter season helps minimize the amount of care and maintenance it will need come springtime. At A+ Lawn & Landscape, we offer a collection of fall services for your property in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, and surrounding central Iowa cities. Call us at (515) 289-2020 and speak with a team member to learn more.