Fall Tips For Caring For Your Landscape From A Charlotte Expert

Posted on | November 15, 2016 | No Comments

There’s almost nothing we love more than having a cup of coffee on a crisp fall morning, while admiring the colorful transformation of our outdoor spaces. Keeping landscapes beautiful and healthy is a year long endeavor and fall brings a new set of landscape maintenance recommendations. To find out what we should be doing for our outdoor spaces at this time of year, North Carolina Design spoke with Deborah Barringer of Barringer & Barringer, Inc. Landscape Services.

Images Courtesy of Barringer & Barringer, Inc. ©

According to Deborah, fall is prime time for aeration and seeding. “Fescue – the grass of choice here in NC – is a cool weather grass and it germinates and grows better in the fall,” Deborah notes. “Aeration opens up the soil and breaks up thatch, allowing moisture, warmth, oxygen and light to reach the seed.”

“We’ve had a very unseasonably warm fall this year,” Deborah  explains. “I spoke to many people during the month of October who commented that their fall seeding was challenging in terms of success. It wasn’t that the seed didn’t ‘take’ – instead it’s that the seed germinates best at a ground temperature between 55 and 65 degrees. For quite some time this fall, we were twenty degrees over that. Once the ground temperature fell, we saw the seed begin to grow.” (Pictured on the left, below, the lawn was seeded. The right shows the same lawn in October after temperatures fell and the seed began to germinate.)

Once the lawn is seeded, Deborah suggests putting away the lawnmower for a while. “You want to wait three to four weeks for the grass to really take hold before you mow,” she advises. “When you do mow, only cut it to three or four inches in height. You don’t want to scalp your grass, you want to blend the new grass in with the old grass, and you want to cultivate and thicken the new grass as it grows.”

To give your lawn its best chance, Deborah notes the importance of keeping things tidy. “You don’t want leaves blocking sunlight and moisture to your lawn,” Deborah affirms. “That said, you really don’t want to risk damaging or uprooting new grass with a rake. I recommend using a blower to remove leaves.”

Fall is also an important season for plants, shrubs and trees. “Fall is a really great time for planting,” says Deborah. “You want to wait to plant until the leaves really start to fall from the trees.” When it comes to fertilizing and trimming, it’s all about the individual plant. “Some trees and shrubs need fertilizing, while others don’t. Some plants and get leggy and unkempt in the fall, and need to be trimmed. Others don’t. It’s very important to research the needs of each individual plant.”

Deborah stresses that there is much more to caring for a landscape than following a set of guidelines or performing routine tasks. “It’s a relationship,” she says. “Like any relationship, you get out what you put in. You have to know your landscape really well and understand all of its specific needs. You have to be familiar with the climate of your specific region, as it affects what kinds of plants can grow and how and when they need to be cared for.”

“You also have to thoughtfully assess the current environment, as well as future forecasts. It’s a lot to keep track of, but the investment of time and work is worth it. Learn all you can about the plants you have in your yard. Consult with experts for any questions you have about your plants and trees. You will be rewarded with a truly beautiful landscape that thrives in any season.”

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