All good things must come to an end, and the same is true for the seemingly endless summer in Calgary. Given how much time you’ll have spent outside enjoying your garden, the changing colours of the leaves and the dropping temperatures will feel like a shock to the system as you’re forced inside earlier and more frequently. It’s at this point that many Calgary homeowners stop working on their yard as they prepare for winter hibernation, but if you want to enjoy your garden again next year, you’ll need to undertake some serious fall maintenance to prepare your land for another fun-filled summer.
It might feel like a lot of work to get your yard ready for spring before the snow starts to fall, but by breaking it down into sections, you won’t feel overwhelmed. There are two main categories for fall maintenance: cleaning everything up and preparing your lawn. Creating a short checklist for each of these categories will give you a concrete list of things to achieve to keep your garden looking its very best for next year.
If you have children around, this part of your fall yard cleanup process is a great way to include them (or possibly for them to find ways to earn some extra money by helping you out!). There’s not a lot of gardening skill required for this group of jobs, but a lot of manual labour requirements means that many hands will make light work:
- Leaf cleanup – while it’s one of the biggest time sucks of your entire gardening year, clearing all the fallen leaves is one of the easiest steps you can take to ensure a luscious looking lawn next year. Left on the ground, the leaves will break down and decay, covering the grass up in the spring and creating high levels of moisture when your grass needs to dry out as quickly as possible after the snowpack. You can mulch the leaves around the bases of trees and shrubs who prefer to be covered up.
- Deal with dead branches – in keeping with the theme of removing debris from your yard, you need a clean up plan to deal with dead branches. Whether it’s doing a thorough pick up of fallen leaves and branches or trimming back those branches that have grown no leaves this season, you’ll be helping your garden conserve energy by removing dead branches. Just like with the leaves, you should consider turning this debris into wood chips for mulch to keep your garden a zero waste project.
- Remove pet waste – speaking of waste, the final part of your fall yard cleanup process should be to go thoroughly through your entire lawn and pick up all visible pet waste. Unlike herbivores like chickens and goats, the poop of common household pets like cats and dogs contains toxins that are harmful for your soil, and the last thing you want is for the pet waste to degrade under the snow pack, slowly poisoning the soil underneath.
Prepare the Lawn
If you’re like the majority of Calgary homeowners, your lawn is a source of pride and joy for you. Not only does it give your family a private space to play and relax, but it also gives your house some great curb appeal. Fall is an essential time to prepare your lawn so it’s usable next year:
- Aeration – aerating your lawn is a great way of promoting growth and high take up water when springs come back around. For a small lawn, you can use a small fork to break up bare patches of soil as you see them, while for a larger space, you might want to consider hiring a rototiller to really break up the soil to help with water drainage and to get grass seeds down deeper.
- Feeding – if you’re planting fall grass, or if you’re looking to promote growth for those bald patches, consider buying fall fertiliser to put on your yard. You’re looking for something with high phosphorus content that will promote root growth, and be sure to use a light raking to help bury into the soil.
- One final mow – a pro tip for a fall yard cleanup that promotes a healthy lawn come spring time is to give your lawn one final mow with the blades as close to the ground as you can manage as close to the first frost as you’re able to. This close shave will help your lawn melt the snow quicker in spring, and will also dry your soil out quicker from the snowpack which will promote deeper root growth and a more verdant lawn in the spring.
After these two main categories are completed, you can enjoy as much of the rest of fall outside as you can. If you have shrubs or perennial flower beds, you’ll want to cut them back to promote spring growth and save winter energy, as well as mulching around the base to retain warmth and water. Heat sensitive plants like roses should be wrapped with cloth which allow air and water in, but will keep the heavy snow and strong winds away. Finally, fall is usually a great time to plant bulbs and root vegetables like onions and garlic who use the winter to build a root stock ready for early spring growth.
Getting Professional Help
Even broken down into small steps, it can still feel like there’s a lot to do for your fall yard cleanup. This is where you need to call Scoop Cut and Shovel’s team of cleanup experts. We have a wide variety of affordable fall maintenance packages so you can delegate any part of the process that you don’t want to deal with. Whether it’s help with leaf cleanup and removal or a subscription to our pet waste removal services, we’ll be with you every step of the way to complete your fall yard cleanup checklist and be ready for another summer of outdoor garden adventures.