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4 Fall Yard Maintenance Chores to Tackle Now (and 1 to Skip)

| Sep 22, 2016

Another glorious autumn season has arrived—and that means your lawn will require some serious fall yard maintenance. We know, we know—that’s not exactly your idea of fun, but your yard is quietly crying out for a little TLC before it drifts into the deep freeze of winter.

Good news: If you put in the time to tackle chores now, you’ll be all set and sitting pretty come spring. Even better news: There are actually a few traditional fall maintenance tasks that the experts say you should actually skip!

Go ahead, read on to learn which chores to do and to avoid.

Things to do right off the bat

1. Pull a soil sample

The most important fall yard chore is the one least done: pulling a soil sample and sending it in for analysis at your County Extension Office—the government agency charged with helping citizens improve the land under their feet, free of charge. (You can find your local agent at

“It will give you a baseline level that might tell you to reduce the fertilizer you’re applying, which will save you money and keep extra nutrients out of the environment,” says Jeremy DeLisle, program coordinator for the University of New Hampshire Extension Education Center in Goffstown, NH. “It’s important to pull the sample before the ground freezes.”

So do it. Soil test results will tell you what your soil lacks and what amendments you should add to give green things a fighting chance to survive. That might mean adding compost or lime to soil before winter sets in, which will condition the soil so you’re all set come spring when you start planting.

2. Protect fragile plants

Newly planted trees, fussy ornamentals, and roses can use a sweater in winter, especially in colder areas of the country where winter burn, caused by sunlight and dry soil, is a problem. Burlap is a good winter wrap, because it lets plants breathe. Pound in three stakes around the shrub, drape a double layer of burlap over the stakes, and fasten them with twine or staples. When the weather warms, remove the burlap and stakes.

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