Fall marks the environment transitioning from summer to winter, and we experience many of our own transitions as well. You probably winterize your house, and your car, but what about your yard? Here are some eco-friendly fall yard work tips to keep your yard happy until spring:
Compost. This time of year generates a lot of waste that is often bagged up and thrown away. This year, take your lawn clippings and fallen leaves and turn them into top-notch fertilizer to use in the spring! To successfully compost fall waste, first shred leaves and grass clippings using a mulcher or shears. This will make it much easier for the leaves to break down. Try to have equal parts grass clippings, which are a nitrogen source, and leaves, which are a carbon source. Moisten the pile slightly, and then just let it be. Turn the pile just about once a month to keep things moving.
Use Your Own Power. Fall chores tend to bring out a lot of machines. Leaf blowers, lawn mowers, rototillers – the list goes on. While these tools may make your job a little quicker, they also release hazardous emissions and use up a ton of energy. Garden equipment engines make up 5% of the nation’s air pollution, with gasoline powered lawn mowers at the top of the list. Running a gas-powered mower for one hour emits as much pollution as 11 cars being driven for an hour! Make the environmentally friendly choice while getting a workout in and trade the leaf blower for a rake.
Put Your Lawn to Bed. If you want to keep your lawn happy, you need to prepare it for the cold weather that’s about to come! Do your final mow of the season with a push mower and cut a little shorter than usual – this will discourage matted grass and snow mold over the winter. Spread a thin layer of compost on top of your lawn to keep it happy under the snow, as well as promote healthy soil and help nourish the many creatures that live in the soil! The fall is also a great time to fill in any bare spots with new seeds for a lush green lawn in the spring.
Do an Outside House Check. You’re not going to want to repair leaks or cracks in the middle of winter, so use the fall to check the outside of your house for any areas that may need attention. Making sure all windows and doors are tightly sealed will prevent heat from escaping, and in turn prevent you from turning up the thermostat.
Final Garden Harvest. Go through the garden and harvest the rest of those tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. If you have herbs or other plants that you like to enjoy year round, transplant them to a pot and move them indoors to grow.