Football season has started, temperatures are (slowly) dropping, and pumpkin spice lattes are back. Fall is on its way here in Gainesville – and for those of us in the lawn care and landscaping business, that means it’s time for fall yard cleanup services to begin. After a summer of storms and wild plant growth, many property owners need help getting their lawns ready to host that first tailgate – but it can be hard to know where to start. We’ve drawn up this fall yard cleanup checklist to help make the process a little more manageable, so you can spend less time taming your lawn and more time enjoying it.
Fall Yard Cleanup Checklist
☐ Remove Storm Debris
Before you can do other fall yard cleanup work, you’ll need to remove any branches, litter, and other debris kicked up by the summer storms that we face here in north central Florida. Typically, your lawn care professional would be able to clear out storm debris for you, but a tree service or restoration service should be called in cases of extensive damage.
☐ Rake Or Leaf Blow
One of the first and most important ways to open up your lawn and patio space is to remove fallen leaves. Depending on the amount of leaf cover and the size of your yard, you may want to pick up your own leaf blower or hire a lawn care company that includes leaf blowing services. As sustainable lawn care professionals, we recommend quiet, electric leaf blowers rather than gas-powered ones.
☐ Replace Yellow or Dead Grass
If leaves have been collecting on your yard throughout the summer, there’s a good chance that the grass underneath has turned yellow from lack of sunlight. Patching your lawn with sod is a quick solution, so you can have your place ready for guests in time for game day. This is a task that most homeowners can take care of without a professional; here’s a helpful step-by-step to get you started in the process.
☐ Mow Your Grass
We’re guessing you already had this one on your list. Be careful not to mow your grass too close to the ground; taller grass holds on to moisture longer and promotes deeper roots. You can use this list of optimal mowing heights as a reference. And of course, we recommend electric mowers to get the job done without gas emissions.
☐ Pull Down Vines
Here in north central Florida, vines grow aggressively over the summer and can choke out your trees, shrubs, and hedges before fall. Your lawn service professional can remove or kill them from the roots, to create more space and moisture in the soil for your plants to enjoy. Removing vines will also allow more sunlight to reach your low-growing plants, and will make your yard’s vegetation look more tidy and healthy in general.
☐ Cut Vegetation Back From The House
It can be difficult to keep plants from creeping up along your siding and windows during the summer’s rapid growth, especially if you spend part of the season away for vacation. By the time fall arrives, branches and brush can be crowded up against your home collecting moisture and blocking sunlight. Ask your lawn care service to trim back hedges and trees and any ivy, vines, or other vegetation clinging to your home’s exterior.
☐ Renew Bark Mulch
You may have bark mulch in your yard or plant beds to suppress weeds and help retain soil moisture. But as the summer months alternate between scorching heat and heavy rain, bark mulch tends to get thin and discolored throughout the season. Putting down a layer of fresh chips will help keep your lawn and plants healthy while also bringing some rich colors to your yard. Don’t worry about removing the existing mulch; it will break down and add nutrients to the soil.
☐ Plant Autumn Annuals
Planting seasonal annuals is a simple but significant way to brighten up your yard and make it welcoming to guests. Ageratums, wax begonias, and zinnias work well to transition from a summer to fall garden; you can also start planting foxgloves, petunias, and pansies next month as temperatures drop. For an extensive list of seasonal gardening options for any region in Florida, check out the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences guide online here.
☐ Create Clean Boundaries Around Your Yard And Plant Beds
This landscaping technique will help create a striking, appealing look for your yard. Your professional lawn care service or landscaper should be able to explain how clean boundaries can be created in your yard; generally speaking, they might need to weed-eat around fence lines, curbs, and plant beds, trim or reshape plant bed edges, or refresh mulch as mentioned above.
Got more questions on your fall yard cleanup or other seasonal lawn care and landscaping issues? Sun Power Lawn Care has a team of sustainable lawn care experts ready with answers. For more information and a personalized conversation, you can reach us by clicking here.