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Fall Green Tips Series: Fall Yard Stewardship

Green Tips | October 15, 2020

Maintaining a lawn or garden can be a fun and rewarding activity. However, landowners and landscapers know all too well that autumn brings additional tasks for upkeeping outdoor spaces. With falling leaves and dropping temperatures, we want to make sure that you’re equipped with sustainable yard care tips.

Applying Fertilizer

Fertilizer provides a great boost of nutrients for plants in need. Whether synthetic or natural, it’s important to apply fertilizer in a way that reduces the chance of run-off. Nutrients that run-off can seep into groundwater and make their way into surface water bodies. The build up of nutrients in lakes, ponds, and estuaries can lead to eutrophication that often cause environmental harm and fish kills. Before applying fertilizer ahead of the cold winter season, there are a few things to know!

  • Plants and grasses cannot uptake fertilizer if the soil is below 55°F. Check the regional soil temperature before applying! Unabsorbed fertilizer is at risk to run off.
  • As per New York State law, only use fertilizer that contains zero percent phosphorus. 
  • Avoid applying fertilizer within twenty feet of any body of water. 
  • Keep fertilizer off impervious surfaces, such as sidewalks and driveways. If fertilizer spills onto any of these surfaces, clean it up without washing it away, as doing so can encourage runoff. 

Handling Fallen Leaves

Fallen leaves may add a wonderful fall aesthetic to your land, but can be quite a nuisance if you prefer not to leave them. Below are some tips for removing and using your leaves.

  • Use fallen leaves to make compost.
  • Preserve fall leaves through a process known as pressing.
  • Opt for a rake or an electric/battery-powered leaf blower or lawn mower to reduce emissions. 
  • Keep gasoline powered leaf-blowers well maintained to minimize the amount of pollutants they emit.
  • Consider mulch-mowing for naturally added nutrients!
  • Rake fallen leaves into garden beds to provide a protective layer for roots and pollinators during the winter!

Additional Tips

  • Water your lawn with a soaker hose or watering can to avoid overwatering.
  • Increase the height of your lawnmower blades to three inches. Taller lawns do not need as much water.

We hope you find this week’s Green Tips helpful, and are enjoying the fall season so far!

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