We love the beautiful colors of fall here in Bismarck, but it also means there's some yard cleanup that needs to get done. We've got a few tips to help keep your yard and lawn looking great through the fall and make it easy to tidy up in the spring.
At this time of year, your annuals are probably starting to look a little sad-and once we start seeing frost, they'll only look worse. As they begin to wither, remove them from your beds and pots. If you compost, you can throw them in as long as they don't have any diseased leaves. Make a stop by our garden center to pick up a few hardy fall bloomers to replace them and get a few more weeks of color.
If you've got some tougher annuals, like chrysanthemums, marigolds, coneflower, or sedum, you can tidy them up with deadheading. Coneflowers will rebloom well into fall if you deadhead them regularly. They're perfect for adding brightness and color to the transitional season.
Chrysanthemums can be brought indoors in pots for the winter if you like. If you've got sweetpeas, you can also collect the dried seed for planting next year.
Any summer blooming bulbs, rhizomes, and corms that aren't winter hardy should be dug up, cleaned, dried, and stored for winter. Ideally, the storage space should be somewhere dark, cool, and dry.
If you want narcissus, tulips, and daffodils first thing in the spring, now is the time to get them in the ground. Make sure they're well-insulated under a few inches of soil and mulch. We've got a wide selection of exciting spring-blooming bulbs in our garden center right now.
If you have a compost system going, this is the perfect time to spread a layer of compost over your empty flower and garden beds. It'll break down further over the winter, and enrich your soil with essential nutrients for next year's plants.
The fallen leaves are pretty, but if they sit on your lawn, they can cause it to die back and leave you with bare spots next spring. Rake up your leaves, and if you have a lawnmower with a catcher, mow over the leaves a few times. Then add the broken down leaves to your compost heap. If you haven't got a compost heap, you can work them straight into the soil in flower or garden beds.
A few weeks before the lawn goes dormant for the winter you'll want to mow it one more time. Drop your lawn mower deck one notch lower than usual, so the lawn doesn't grow too tall before the snow flies.
If you haven't yet aerated the lawn, fall is the best time to do it. Make sure you do it sooner than later, ideally in early September, to allow the roots of your grass to absorb as many nutrients as possible before the soil freezes up.
As your lawn ages, it can thin and develop sparse areas. Luckily, we can just add some grass seed to fill in those spots. Make sure to rake up any dead grass and, in bare patches, loosen the soil a bit and spread the seed so it's in direct contact with the dirt. You'll need to water the seed daily until it starts freezing overnight.
Once it's consistently freezing and your lawn is dormant, you'll want to spread a slow-release granular fertilizer. As this dissolves, the grass will store the energy and nutrients in its roots for a healthy start next spring.
If you get these few tasks done now, next spring you'll have a lot less winter cleanup to tackle. To get any tools, tips, or help with your fall yard cleanup this year you might need, pop over to our garden center. We'd love to help you keep your yard and lawn looking tidy through the fall and winter.