Here in St. Louis, fall means bonfires, apple picking, and Oktoberfest. At the same time, we also need to get our yards winter-ready. While not nearly as fun as tossing around the pigskin or hitting up the pumpkin patch, yard maintenance is critical since Old Man Winter can be particularly brutal on homeowners here in the Midwest.
A Homeowner’s Guide to Yard Maintenance
By prepping our properties for freezing temperatures, snow, and ice, we avoid costly repairs down the road and reduce our load come springtime. And with the unpredictable St. Louis weather and temperature change, this handy yard maintenance checklist gives no excuse for not giving your yard a once-over in between those Sunday football games.
- Clear off vegetation around your fence and house. Cut away loose or low-hanging tree branches and limbs that can fall and damage your fence, roof, and siding in the event of heavy winds or ice storms. If you have a wood fence, make sure to clean away leaves and debris which can speed up the rotting process. If you have an aluminum or vinyl fence, you don’t need to worry about your fence rusting or rotting!
- Part ways with your leaves. If you leave tree leaves on your lawn all winter, they can smother the grass underneath, preventing your yard from getting the sunlight it needs to stay healthy until spring. Be sure to give your yard a good raking and compost the foliage to create homespun mulch for the warmer months.
- Offer your lawn some TLC. Autumn, not Spring, is the best time of year to breathe life back into your lawn. Start by cutting your lawn about two inches shorter than you did during the summer. Then, before the first frost hits, aerate your lawn to allow nutrients to reach the roots. Take the time to fertilize, reseed and winterize your yard as well.
- Stop up the holes. If you have holes or low spots in your yard around your home’s foundation, be sure to fill them in and angle them slightly to direct drainage away from your house. Your basement will stay drier all season long.
- Turn off the waterworks. Faucets and pipes can freeze quickly during the St. Louis winter. Prevent busted pipes, leaks and destruction to your yard by draining your irrigation system, removing garden hoses from outdoor spigots, and turning off shutoff valves.
- Give your yard equipment a break. Now’s the time for snow blowers and shovels. Clean up your lawnmower and weedeater and drain the gasoline and oil from both before storing them in your garage or shed for the winter.
- Declutter your gutters. The falling leaves can cause a big headache once they start clogging your gutters. If they’re not removed, they can trap water in the winter and cause damaging ice dams. Once you clean your gutters, double check them and your downspouts for any worn or broken spots.
- Protect your outdoor living space. Since BBQ’s are on hold for a few months, defend your lawn furniture against harsh winter weather by covering it up and bringing any cushions inside. If you have room, consider storing it in the garage.
Let the Experts Help
No one wants to say goodbye to warmer weather, even for a few months. But by following a yard maintenance checklist this autumn, it will be that much easier to get everything ready outdoors once spring swings back around.
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