Fall clean up is something that none of us want to do, but we all have to do it at some point to ensure that our homes and yards are ready for the tough winters ahead. For most of us, this means cleaning up gardens, raking leaves, eliminating any outdoor furniture that could be harmed by harsh weather, and even winterizing certain outdoor features such as pools or fountains.

But should you be doing more when you are cleaning up after the summer season? Yes. There are so many things that you need to be on the lookout for – things that can help you to be safer and more relaxed throughout the already taxing shoveling season.

Here are a few things to look out for:

4. Look For Debris Blockages

  • Leaves and sticks can block gutters or water features
  • Debris can cover deeper problems
  • Make sure to wear gloves

Fallen leaves and weeds aren’t just unsightly – they are also the perfect place for pests to make their homes in the winter, which can lead them to making your home their home as well. Make sure that you clear out flower beds, gutters, any holes in your yard, and your sidewalks. Even more than pests, debris can make ice harder to spot, holds in trash or garbage, and makes it nearly impossible to see any other problems that might pop up.

According to Lowe’s, you want to start by cleaning your gutters of all the debris that you can grab with your hands. Then, “To clean out finer materials, flush the gutter lengths with a hose starting at the end opposite the downspout. Alternatively, you can use a gutter-cleaning attachment on a hose. If the water doesn’t drain, recheck the downspout strainer and clean as necessary.”

3. Look For Your Vegetable Gardens

  • Helps with next year’s growth
  • Eliminates infestation risks
  • Helps plan next year’s planting

If you are the type of person who loves to plant vegetables, you know that your vegetable garden requires a lot of care during this time of the year. Instead of just letting everything sit as it is and taking care of it in the spring, there are some proactive steps that you can take now to ensure that your vegetable garden is ready to go next year.

After the final harvest of the season, or as soon as possible if that has already happened, pull out all of the old vegetable plants that have died or even ones that are still healthy, remove debris as per the first step, and completely till the whole plot of land, even if you haven’t used it in the past year. This will ensure that you have healthy soil the next year AND can stop with compaction due to the elements in the winter.

If you compost, you might even want to add a layer so that your soil stays healthy, according to Planet Natural.

2. Look For Sitting Water

  • Can harm water features
  • Attracts pests
  • Can be dangerous

One of the biggest steps in your fall clean up should be looking for standing water. In your effort to find it, you want to drain any and all water that could “sit” somewhere in your yard. This means everything, from hoses and fountains to flower pots and drip irrigation systems. You want to get them away from open air, as this will just allow water to get in them and sit again. Water left standing over the winter may damage your equipment as the water freezes and thaws – it can lead to cracking.

According to Home Guides, “Top dressing is a simple method to fix shallow depressions in your yard that collect water following a heavy rain. This method evens out low areas using layers of soil applied over existing grass. Apply a layer of soil to your lawn, 1/4 to 1/2 of inch thick, every eight to 12 weeks. Use dry soil and spread it evenly over the depression with a drop spreader or shovel. If you add soil so it covers less than half the height of your grass, your grass will regrow to its original height between applications and this will keep the grass healthy.”

1. Trim Trees

  • Can prevent problems throughout the winter
  • Now is the best time to give the tree time to recover
  • Best to ask a professional

Of course, one of the best things to look out for when it comes to your trees is branches that need to be trimmed. Why is this so important? Your trees are heavy and they are big, and if the winter is worse than we anticipated (and this winter is probably going to be a pretty bad one), you need to do some trimming. This can help to prevent any problems that might pop up and it will make your trees look great into the spring.

By cutting dead or diseased branches in the fall, you are benefiting the overall health of the tree. In addition to the health benefits, pruning can also encourage trees to develop stronger core structures to help withstand the elements that they might face in the winter months, according to All State.

The earlier you start looking at your trees, the better. If you do notice that there are some problems, you want to contact a tree care professional as soon as possible. Fall is a very busy time, and sometimes it can take a few days before we can get to you – and the demand only gets higher when there is a storm coming.

If you happen to be looking for a tree care professional in South Jersey (for yourself or for your neighbor), give Bumblebee Tree Service a call today at (609) 297-1721. We will help you to better understand your trees and have all of the appropriate equipment to take care of any problems that pop up, including removal after a tree has died, pruning, stump removal, and more.

Header photo courtesy of eflon on Flickr!