Caring for your lawn in the fall isn’t just about preparing for winter. There are many thing you can do to make your lawn healthier and more supportive of the local ecosystem.
Save the leaves
Fall leaves are integral to many critters’ life cycles. If you can keep some in a pile, do so.
Feed the birds
Leave flower stalks and ornamental grasses standing until March or later. These seeds offer food for birds throughout the winter.
Care for pollinators
Bees’ larvae thrive in the winter. They like soil or hollow stalks, such as those found in raspberry canes or sunflowers. If you do cut stalks, lay them horizontally on the ground until the spring. The larvae will emerge when temperatures are right, usually by late April or early May.
Kill weeds without toxins
To eliminate weeds without using toxic chemicals, try this. Put cardboard over a weedy area and cover the cardboard with leaves or straw, at least four inches tall. Leave it there for up to a year. This can kill bittersweet, poison-ivy and other tough-to-kill weeds. Great in wooded areas!
Be cautious about trees + mulch
Move leaves and mulch away from tree trunks to avoid problems. Apply only two to four inches of mulch in a ring three to six inches away from the trunk.