What’s the Easiest Way to Prepare Your Lawn for Falling Leaves?

As Frank Sinatra sang in “Autumn Leaves”:

“The falling leaves drift by the window / the autumn leaves of red and gold.”

And while those leaves may be lovely, what is even lovelier is great preparation. Picture yourself in March (or April?), emerging on the first green day of spring and knowing that you took these steps to make your life easier.

1. Clean your tools

Don’t put your gardening tools away dirty. Before they go into the shed for the fall and winter, give them a thorough cleaning, and put on a little oil to keep them from rusting. You don’t want to have to purchase those tools all over again.

2. Mow before it freezes

Giving the lawn a close trim before the snow arrives will help it dry out when the snowpack melts. If your soil dries more quickly in the spring, your grass will grow in thicker, softer, and greener.

3. Dry out your gear

Get all the water out of your irrigation system, your garden hoses, and your fountains. Drain them all. And store them all in a dry location. If you leave water in those tubes over the winter, you could damage all of it.

4. Break up the soil

Giving your lawn a good aeration — breaking up the soil to let air in — will make sure that minerals and nutritious seepage will make it all the way to the roots. You can rent an aerator that you walk behind.

5. Get nutrients into the grass

A fertilizer with a healthy amount of phosphorous will protect your lawn over the winter, and will encourage root growth during those winter months.