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Posted by Todd Thomasson on Sep 1, 2021 2:30:00 PM

Fall is typically a busy time of year for everyone. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave much time for fall landscaping tasks, particularly when the days are getting shorter. Oftentimes it can get cold quickly and before you know it, even start snowing. While you know there are important landscaping tasks you should perform in the fall, it’s incredibly challenging to find the time. This also makes it more likely that you'll perform fall landscaping mistakes.

Perhaps you tried to tackle some jobs, but things still look untidy. You might be wondering which tasks should be prioritized as you don’t want to miss something important. Certainly, some jobs are more important than others. Here are some helpful fall landscaping tips, along with five landscaping mistakes to avoid in fall.

Fall Landscaping Mistake #1: Not Cleaning Up Your Leaves

Fallen leaves can become a big eyesore that can make your property look messy. If you don’t pick them up, they’ll be blowing around all winter and make even more of a mess for you in the spring. But besides being a nuisance, fallen leaves can also cause problems for your grass. Areas that are matted down under heavy leaf cover will start to die off.

In addition, if you’re going to have aeration and overseeding performed in the fall, but you don’t clean up your leaves, your new grass isn’t going to grow very well.

On top of all that, fallen leaves that aren’t removed also create the ideal habitat for rodents, ticks, and other pests in your landscape beds. This is especially troublesome near the foundation of your home where these creatures might also try to find a way in. Cleaning up leaves will encourage those critters to move on to somewhere else.

#2 Failing to Mulch

Applying fresh mulch is a fall landscaping tip. People tend to forget that fall is also a great time for mulching—it’s not just for spring flower beds. A fresh coat of mulch in the fall not only looks really nice but it’s also an important landscaping maintenance task for the layer of protection that it provides once temperatures start to drop.

landscape mulching in fall

Mulch helps to insulate the root system of your trees and shrubs and keep the temperature warmer by acting as an added barrier. People also tend to forget that you can still have winter weeds pop up and mulch can help reduce their chances.

#3 Ignoring Perennials and Ornamental Grasses

An important fall landscaping tip to bear in mind is remembering to trim back some of your perennials and ornamental grasses. It’s true that perennials and ornamental grasses are relatively low maintenance. But while they may look okay now, as temperatures cool, grasses and most perennials will brown out and only survive below ground. Removing this year’s foliage, and other parts above the surface, will help to prevent them from breaking off and blowing around all winter.

Ornamental grasses also have a tendency to get really messy and fall over during the winter, particularly once they have snow piling up on them. They should be trimmed down prior to winter weather and upcoming snowfalls in order to look their best.

Fall cutbacks will also help grasses and perennials look better come spring. A lot of folks tend to forget to trim them back in the early spring. Trimming off the dead material in fall means new spring growth can emerge without having to worry about plucking out each dead stem later (which also takes more time!).

Fall Landscaping Mistake #4: Improper Pruning

While certain perennials and ornamental grasses can benefit from a trim, you must be careful that you don’t improperly trim a spring-flowering shrub. This would be a big fall landscaping mistake that could cause irreversible damage for the flowering season. Azaleas and Rhododendrons, for instance, only have a four to six-week window of when pruning is appropriate immediately after they are done flowering in the spring. After that, they are setting flower buds for a new season that should not be trimmed off.

pruned shrubs and plants

If you trim these branches too late in the fall, you could reduce next spring’s blooming. Pruning may be landscaping maintenance service best left to the professionals if you feel uncertain about performing it properly.

#5 Waiting Too Long to Switch Landscaping Maintenance Services

If you’re not happy with your existing landscaping maintenance service company, the fall is a good time to part ways and start shopping around for a company that will better meet your needs. The off-season poses a great opportunity to interview potential companies and find one that is a better fit. Don’t wait until spring rolls around, which is landscapers’ busy season. Use the time now to research landscape maintenance companies and make an educated decision about switching services.

Making Smart Landscape Maintenance Choices

Hopefully some of these fall landscaping tips, in terms of what not to do, will help you to make the best choices for your landscape. One of the benefits of hiring a professional landscaper is that they will know what services are most important and when they should be done. There is only so much time in a day and chances are, you don’t want to spend it working in your yard.

By choosing to work with Rock Water Farm, we can ensure that these fall maintenance tasks are taken care of for you, without you having to give it any extra thought. That leaves your time open to enjoy the things that you love about fall such as the football games, time with family, or gearing up for the holidays. It will also ensure that your yard not only looks its best throughout the fall but will be better prepared to withstand the winter and will be spring-ready when the new season rolls around.

Are you ready to have a property that you are proud of at your Northern Virginia home? If so, talk to an expert, choose a solution that rocks, and get ready to see your dreams begin to take shape!.

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About The Author

Todd Thomasson
Todd Thomasson

Todd Thomasson, founded Rock Water Farm Landscapes & Hardscapes in 2005. Having grown up with hard working parent role models and a strong work ethic, Todd put his Landscape & Turf Management degree from Virginia Tech into action as the lead stone mason and landscape designer for the new company. Over the years, the responsibility and opportunity of running this company has been shared with other members of the Rock Water Farm team, launching one of the leading property maintenance companies in Loudoun County. Todd is still rooted in his passion for design/build projects and continues to run the company, working with clients to design, build and maintain perfect outdoor spaces with his team.