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Experts Share Essential Tips for Fall Landscaping

The National Association of Landscape Professionals urges homeowners to complete critical care and maintenance of their yards and gardens during the fall season to enjoy their landscapes to the fullest

Arlington, Va., September 19th, 2016 - With the arrival of autumn, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) is advising homeowners to take crucial care of their landscapes. Fall is often mistakenly overlooked when it comes to landscaping, despite the fact that the moderate temperatures, adequate rainfall and shorter days reduce plant stress and make it an ideal time for lawn, garden and tree tasks. It is extremely important to proactively care for your lawns, gardens and trees now, in order to preserve the health of your landscape, protect the environment through the winter, and ensure active growth and vitality come next spring.

“While many homeowners consider spring and summer to be the time for tackling landscaping projects, fall is actually a prime season for lawn care and landscaping,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs, NALP. “Being diligent in fall landscaping will allow your lawn and garden to withstand their long winter’s nap, and will certainly pay dividends next spring. In addition, thoughtful planning can allow your outdoor living spaces to be enjoyed throughout the cold-weather months.”

NALP encourages homeowners to consult a landscape or lawn care professional to determine the specific maintenance necessary within their region and for their particular property. Partnering with a professional will increase your chances of best results. Here are helpful tips for fall landscaping from NALP:
  • Remove dead leaves. Raking is a quintessential fall chore, but the benefits of removing leaves go well beyond the aesthetic. If dead leaves remain on the ground through winter, they prevent the lawn from getting necessary sunlight for spring growth, and they can form a dense, wet (or frozen) mat conducive to harmful plant diseases. The best solution is to mulch leaves into the turf with your lawn mower, or to remove and recycle leaves from your property at a facility where they can be composed.
  • Inspect your trees. Many trees shed their leaves in fall, but keep an eye out for dead leaves left at the top of trees, a possible indicator of environmental or root stress, or twisted and curled leaves that may be a sign that your tree has an infection. Damaged trees may need to be pruned or removed by a professional. Tree inspection is critical before the winter, when ice and heavy snow can cause weak tree limbs to break, creating a major safety and property hazard.
  • Take charge of lawn care. With summer’s extreme heat behind us, fall is the ideal time to seed grass. Grass can also grow more freely with less competition from intrusive weed growth in the fall. Even if your lawn is fully established, plan to overseed to help fill in bare areas and thinning grass. In most parts of the country, fertilizing and aerating your lawn in the fall is also critical to ensure continued healthy growth.
  • Get creative with fall gardening. There are several options for bringing texture and to your fall gardens, including asters, sedum, Chinese lanterns, goldenrod, black-eyed Susans, pansies and snapdragons. Fall is also an excellent time for planting shrubs, which can add further dimension and style to your landscape.
  • Layer your garden beds with mulch. Mulch insulates the roots of your plants, keeping them protected from the harsh winter weather. If the mulch placed earlier in the season has worn away, or if you install new plants in the fall, be sure to add a fresh layer of two to three inches of mulch in your garden beds and around trees.
  • Turn up the heat with fire features. Firepits, chimineas, stone and brick fireplaces, and fire-powered outdoor appliances allow your outdoor living spaces to be enjoyed on chilly days and brisk nights. Choosing the right option depends on how you plan to use the space and the ways these features will best maximize the views from your deck or patio.
  • Plan ahead for next season’s landscape. Meeting with a landscape professional now will allow you ample time to create and build your dream landscape. Keep in mind the various steps involved in overhauling your landscape — finalizing your vision, determining your budget, obtaining permits and more — and next spring doesn’t seem so far away.

For more tips and advice for year-round landscaping, visit LoveYourLandscape.org.

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About NALP
The National Association of Landscape Professionals represents an industry of nearly 1 million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care experts who create and maintain green spaces for the benefit of society and the environment. For more information, visit LoveYourLandscape.org.