Tonawanda News

Features

September 29, 2013

GARDENING: Six steps to a beautiful landscape next season

Tonawanda News — Don’t let a busy schedule stop you from creating a beautiful landscape. Incorporate a few of these changes in your fall landscape care. You’ll create beautiful results with a limited investment of time and effort.

Cut the grass, recycle fall leaves and improve the soil with a pass of the lawn mower. Shred leaves and leave them on the lawn as you mow this fall. As long as you can see the grass through the leaf pieces, the lawn will be fine. As the leaves break down they add organic matter to the soil, improving drainage in clay soil and water-holding ability in sandy soils.

Or, as an alternative, use excess leaves as a soil mulch. Shred the leaves with your mower and spread a layer over the soil to conserve moisture and insulate the roots of perennials. Fall mulching gives you a jump on next spring’s landscape chores.

Improve your lawn’s health by fertilizing this fall with a low-nitrogen, slow-release fertilizer. You’ll reduce the risk of disease problems and with slower weed growth in fall, your lawn, not the weeds, will benefit from the nutrients. Fall fertilization also helps lawns recover from the stresses of summer by encouraging deep roots and denser growth that can better compete with weeds and tolerate disease and insects.

Northern gardeners can follow the holiday schedule and fertilize Labor Day and Halloween. Southern gardeners should make their last fall fertilization at least 30 days before the lawn goes dormant or the average first killing frost to avoid winter kill.

Do a bit of planting. Cool season annuals brighten up the fall garden and, for those in warmer regions, the winter garden. Consider adding cold-=hardy pansies. They provide color in the fall garden, survive most winters and are back blooming in the spring just as the snow melts.

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