Fall in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT is a beautiful time of year. The air is crisp (albeit, some days chillier than we’d like) and the fall foliage brings a kaleidoscope of colors. But as picturesque as the scenery can be, it’s also a time of year when any landscape can begin looking a bit unkempt. The yard can easily get littered with fallen leaves and branches, ornamental grasses and perennials may be in need of trimming, and plant beds might be in need of some freshening up.
On top of all that, you also know that you must start preparing your landscape for the winter. The abundance of wildlife here in Montana creates the need for some unique preparations.
Putting off some of these fall landscaping cleanup tasks can become problematic. Not only will it hurt the aesthetics of your landscape but it can have a negative impact on your property’s health, too.
That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of fall landscaping maintenance tips that you’ll want to make sure you have on your to-do list. These fall landscaping tasks will help keep your property look neat and tidy while also protecting its value.
1. Winterize your Irrigation System
Here in Montana, where it’s common to experience deep freezes, it’s incredibly important that irrigation systems are properly winterized. Even if you’ve drained the water out of your system, there can still be some that lingers. Freezing water can completely destroy your system by causing pipes to burst or be damaged. Therefore, it’s critical that your lines are fully blown out.
A fall irrigation blow out is best performed by a trained professional as it can result in excessive pressure that can also cause damage if not done correctly.
2. Prune Specific Trees and Shrubs
Pruning should also be part of your fall landscaping tasks. Pruning helps to protect your plants’ health by cutting off dead, broken, or diseased branches or limbs.
However, because different plants need pruning at different times of the year, this has to be a very selective process. Generally speaking, the best plants to prune in the fall are those that are summer and fall flowering. If you prune spring flower trees and cut off the buds, you’ll inhibit them from flowering come spring.
A professional can assess your property and determine which shrubs and trees need to be pruned now and which should wait. A pro will also know how to prune properly so that you gain the full benefits of this important service.
3. Cut Back Perennials and Trim Ornamental Grasses
Another important task amongst the fall landscaping services is to cut back perennials and trim ornamental grasses, which can break off and begin to blow around come winter months. These plants will survive underground but the material above ground can be cut back.
Trimming off dead material in the fall will allow new spring growth to emerge when the timing is just right.
4. Apply Fall Lawn Fertilizer
Fall is also the time to apply fall lawn fertilizer but with low- or no-nitrogen.
Nitrogen is what greens up and promotes the shoot and the leaf growth of the plant, which is what you want in the spring and in the early summer. However, at this time of year, we want to promote everything but new growth. That new and tender growth will likely be killed by the cold.
By using a low- or no-nitrogen fertilizer, the energy is instead put toward root growth which will make for a healthier lawn next year.
5. Prepare the Landscape to Avoid Wildlife Damage
It’s also important that wildlife control solutions are part of your fall landscaping services since you could risk losing one of your plants to the many different creatures that roam our area.
Your landscape plants are much more likely to become a “meal” for wildlife when their other food sources become scarce. But it’s not just animals eating your plants that can be problematic. When animals like deer rub their antlers on your trees, they can strip away the bark and cause severe, sometimes irreversible, damage.
We will cage a lot of trees for this very reason. With a shrub, we’ll likely wrap the entire thing but with a tree, a trunk wrap is all you need for protection.
6. Perform Leaf Clean Up for Aesthetics and Health
Making sure that leaves are cleaned up is another important aspect of fall landscaping cleanup. Although you might primarily think of fallen leaves in terms of being an eyesore (and they certainly can be), they can also wreak havoc on the health of your property if there are large quantities of them.
For one, a large number of leaves left on the property can kill the grass by blocking its access to oxygen, sunlight, and water—all essential for the healthy growth of your lawn.
But fallen leaves can also create an ideal habitat for rodents, ticks, and other pests to take up residence on your property. This creates an additional concern if they’re near your home’s foundation. After all, you certainly don’t want these critters to make their way inside!
However, if you don’t have a large number of leaves, you can mulch them up and leave them on the grass where they can become natural fertilizer.
7. Mulch Plant Beds for a Fresh Look Plus Health Benefits
The fall can also be a great time to mulch your plant beds. It will give your landscape a clean, fresh look in the fall and also protect your plants’ precious roots from the cold and wind come winter.
Mulch can also play a role in keeping winter weeds at bay. A lot of homeowners forget that weeds don’t just pop up in spring. They can be a problem all year long. But a fresh layer of mulch can help deter them.
At Blanchford Landscape Group, we use soil pep mulch which is a fine bark mulch with compost added in. Any organic bark mulch will eventually break down and add nutrients to the soil. However, with soil pep mulch, that added soil amendment just assists in the process with more microbial activity and even better results.
8. Consider Special Containers for Fall and Winter Interest
We admit this is not exactly a fall landscaping cleanup service, but we would be remiss in not mentioning that fall is a great time to consider unique container gardens that can add interest to your property.
At Blanchford Landscape Group, we love creating fall/winter seasonal containers using materials like Dogwood and Willow branches, dried grasses and flowers, and evergreen boughs. We can create some gorgeous arrangements that add aesthetic appeal to your property at a time when many plants begin to go into dormancy.
Protect your Investment in your Landscape with Professional Fall Landscaping Services
All of these tasks can be incredibly valuable when it comes to keeping your property looking its best. But the truth is, by keeping up with regular maintenance, you are also protecting your overall investment in your landscape.
As simple as some of these tasks may be, we understand that you’re busy and have better things to do with your fall weekends than spending it in the yard doing fall landscaping cleanup. That’s why you might be thinking about handing these tasks over to a landscape maintenance professional who can handle them for you.
This will ensure that these fall tasks are not only completed but that they’re completed properly. While some aspects of fall cleanup are simple, like leaf cleanup, some are more complex, like pruning.
Plus, all of these tasks are time-consuming and potentially arduous! If you’ve ever spent a weekend raking and hauling leaves you know it’s exhausting. You’d rather be enjoying Montana’s fall foliage for its beauty, not the work associated with it.
For these reasons, you might be seriously considering letting a professional handle your fall landscape maintenance along with any other services it needs throughout the year. A well-rounded landscape maintenance plan is essential when it comes to ensuring your property continues to look and perform optimally.
Let Blanchford Landscape Group Take Away Your Fall Landscape Worries
At Blanchford Landscape Group, our “landscape maintenance services” are part of our Garden Services division. We treat Garden Services like property management, knowing that our clients hire us to take away their worries.
If you’re trying to enjoy your beautiful Montana property, the last thing you feel like seeing is leaves blowing around or overgrown plants messing up your scenic view. You want everything to look neat and tidy so you can enjoy the beauty that your landscape has to offer.
We can give your property the attention that it deserves so that it continues to look and perform its best all year long.
As we mentioned, ongoing maintenance can ultimately save you money by keeping your landscape in good (healthy) shape. That’s why we call it protection of your investment. And by handing these tasks over to a pro, you’ll free up your time while also gaining the peace of mind that you’ve invested in keeping your landscape looking its best.
Are you ready to learn more about garden services (landscape maintenance) at your Bozeman or Big Sky, MT home? Let’s connect and talk about your needs. Then we can meet and review a detailed plan of action. With everything being handled for you, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your landscape.