Fall is typically a busy time of year for everyone. Between back-to-school obligations, kids’ sporting events, the start of football games on television, fall festivals and activities, and the holidays just around the corner, chances are your nights and weekends are jam-packed and time seems to be flying by at lightspeed.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave much time for landscape maintenance 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 probably some important landscape tasks you should be performing now, it’s incredibly challenging to find the time. It may also be the last way you want to spend your weekends when you have so very little time, to begin with.
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.
Whether you plan to do it yourself, or you’re thinking about hiring a landscaping maintenance service in Ashburn, Aldie, or Leesburg, here are five of the worst landscape maintenance mistakes you could make this fall.
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
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.
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!).
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 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.
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.
If you’d like to talk more about fall landscape maintenance tasks for your Ashburn, Aldie, or Leesburg, VA home, contact us for a free consultation or give us a call at 703-327-1636 so we can chat.