Keeping up with yard work may seem like a major chore between raking leaves and trimming flowers. But, it doesn’t have to be. There are some low-work ways to keep your patch of green gorgeous all season long. Plus, using these shortcuts you can ditch the rake and drop the shears. Here are five easy fall lawn care tips worth trying.
Ensure healthy grass by leaving the leaves.
Instead of straining your back raking up leaves, simply go over them with your mower. Fallen leaves act like mulch, protecting your lawn and keeping roots warm over the winter. Says gardener Garrett Hayes, founder of Birding Hub, “Leaves are also marvelous habitats for garden-helping bugs to hibernate, which helps feed birds that stick around during the colder months.”
Preserve perennials by skipping the fall trim.
While it’s often advised to cut shrubs and perennials back in the fall, skipping the chore and leaving it for spring will benefit your plants far more. That’s because dried stems insulate the plants’ root base, protecting it from cold. Experts say coneflowers and ornamental grasses do especially well if pruning is left until warm weather returns in the spring.
Prep your lawn easily with coffee grounds.
Nitrogen helps grass build strong roots over the winter. The recipe for a low-maintenance fertilizer? Mix 2 cups of nitrogen-rich coffee grounds in 5 gallons of water; let steep overnight. Spritz on your lawn with a hose sprayer two weeks before the first frost is expected.
Enjoy annuals longer with a well-timed watering.
To help petunias, daisies, and potted mums thrive as long as possible before cold weather hits, just give them a good drink of water. “Annuals benefit from a deep watering in the days leading up to a frost,” says master gardener Emma Loker. “Moisture is an excellent conserver of warmth in the soil, encouraging heat radiation at night that will keep your annuals nice and toasty.”
Jump-start veggie gardens with an early compost.
Most of us add compost in the spring, but this can “shock” plants with too many nutrients all at once. “Instead, add the organic matter to your veggie garden now to ensure it absorbs slowly,” says Lindsey Hyland (UrbanOrganicYield.com). “Your beds will be full of rich soil come spring, and you can get right to planting.”
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.