Fall Landscaping Tips: 30 Ways to Prepare Your Landscape for Winter and Spring

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Fall Landscaping Tips: 30 Ways to Prepare Your Landscape for Winter and Spring

There’s no denying the beauty of Northern Virginia in the fall. Bright oranges, deep reds and maroons, and even flashy yellows adorn our trees, creating picturesque views and perfect bonfire backdrops. Even though you may want to linger a little longer on your deck or patio these days, there’s a lot you can be doing right now to prepare your landscape for colder weather – and even next year’s growth.

To honor our 30th anniversary, here are 30 fall landscaping tips:

  1. Swap out your summer annuals for fall plants. Pansies and mums are a wonderful way to add a little color as the temperature drops.
  2. Pull weeds from your beds. The more you get rid of now, the less you’ll have to deal with next year.
  3. Apply an herbicide to your lawn. Kill dandelions and other pesky weeds that are choking out your grass. Keep in mind, though, that most herbicides work best when it is 60 degrees or warmer.
  4. Test your soil. Get the intelligence now that you can use to keep your lawn lush and healthy next year. Our turf renovation blog  has information on inexpensive, invaluable soil tests for Virginia residents.
  5. Aerate and reseed your lawn. Why is core aeration and overseeding so important? Check out our blog on core aeration and overseeding.
  6. Fill in bald spots. If you have areas of turf that died over the summer, now is the time to patch them with compost and seed.
  7. Start a new lawn – if you have to. If your lawn is completely overrun with weeds or has extremely large bare areas, you may need to just start over. Fall is a great time to seed or lay sod.
  8. Fertilize your turf. Roots grow until it hits approximately 40 degrees, so apply a high-phosphorus fertilizer to promote growth and set your turf up for spring.
  9. Divide and plant perennials. Fall is the perfect time to break up your perennials and fill in empty spaces.
  10. Turn your mulch. Mulch get compacted just like grass. By giving it a little “fluff,” water can absorb easier.
  11. Mulch younger plants and trees. After turning your mulch, give new beds another 2-4” for warmth during the winter.
  12. Prune your trees. Make sure dead branches are removed for safety’s sake before winter storms hit. It’s a good idea to get a handle on tree sizes before next spring, too.
  13. Shape your shrubs. Just like trees, shrubs can also use some shaping. Check before you cut your flowering plants, though, because pruning can ruin spring blooms.
  14. Remove spent stems. Removing dead flowers now will help your plants focus on new ones come spring.
  15. Trim perennials. All that perennial foliage is taking energy away from the roots. Check first, but most should be trimmed down to the ground for a better start in the spring.
  16. Water your evergreens. Even evergreens need some water to make it through the winter. If we are averaging less than 4” of rain per month, saturate your evergreens a couple times a week – at least through October.
  17. Water your lawn. Just because the temperature is dropping, it doesn’t mean that your grass isn’t thirsty. If you aren’t getting rain, keep watering your lawn until the end of October.
  18. Discard dead leaves. Leaf cover can block sunshine and promote disease. Rake and remove leaves for a healthier lawn.
  19. Plant trees. Autumn’s pleasant temperatures are great for rooting new trees around your landscape.
  20. Plant shrubs. Fall’s cooler, moister soil gives shrubs the perfect environment for establishing new roots before the end of the year.
  21. Plant bulbs. From tulips to lilies, bulbs are an easy way to get spring flowers year after year. Make sure to plant them low enough so that they don’t freeze over the winter.
  22. Install some hardscaping. Make use of the cooler temperatures by getting some hardscape projects done. How about a pathway leading to your garden or a retaining wall for your front flower bed?
  23. Cut your grass one last time. As long as your grass keeps growing, continue to cut it – even if it’s a little chilly outside.
  24. Drain hoses. If water freezes inside your hoses, they will expand and get damaged.
  25. Winterize outside pipes. Make sure to cut off your outdoor water supply and winterize outdoor faucets.
  26. Winterize irrigation pipes and drip systems. Shut off water supplies and drain all water from the systems.
  27. Clean your tools. Leaving dirt and other debris on tools can impact how well they work next year. Make sure you clean off everything before putting it away.
  28. Perform annual mower maintenance. Sharpen blades, drain gasoline, and change the oil in your mower. It’s also good to change out spark plugs and replace the air filter.
  29. Plan for next year. Start thinking about what you want to do next year so that you can start budgeting for it now. Fall is also a great time to negotiate a maintenance contract with a professional landscaping company.
  30. Enjoy your hard work. It’s the perfect time to sit around your fire pit and roast s’mores. You worked hard all year on your lawn, so make sure you enjoy it!
















Sunrise Landscape and Design is Northern Virginia’s premier landscaping company offering a full range of landscaping services. Our landscape and design services include hardscapes, water features, irrigation and landscape lighting. Our property maintenance services will keep your landscape vibrant and healthy year round with mulching, edging, garden cleanups, lawn mowing, tree pruning and mosquito/deer control. Contact us today for all your landscape and fall lawn care needs!