There is a fair amount of uncertainty as to what needs to be done to prepare the typical Ottawa lawn and garden before Winter. I will go through some of the basic tasks that comprise a successful Fall cleanup.
The first and most common fall clean up task for most properties is leaf pick up. People ask me all the time, “Should I or even do I have to cleanup the leaves that are on the ground during the Fall?”
My belief is that you should make every effort to pick up and clean as many leaves as possible before Winter. The logic is straight forward. There are 2 main risks associated with not cleaning up the fallen leaves.
1.Leaves left on the lawn may begin to rot and can cause thatch or debris buildup that may choke the grass underneath.
2.Leaves and debris left on flower beds and around perennials and shrubs carry disease risk. Leaves left over Winter will begin to decay. Many leaves already carry mold spores or mildew and can possibly also carry insect eggs which will be ready to emerge in the Spring and will pose a risk to your plants.
Other than leaf cleanup any home owner who has a lawn must either cut their grass to a shorter length or have a lawn service company in Ottawa cut it for them. A good practice is to gradually cut the grass shorter incrementally during September and into October. A good final height for your blades of grass is approximately 2.25 inches. Any reputable lawn care company in Ottawa should be following these guidelines. In a worst case scenario you can always cut your lawn near the end of October and bag the clippings if it is too tall to gradually cut it down.
Many plants and trees will also require some attention. Have a look at your shrubs. If any have weak looking branches or visibly damaged limbs they should be trimmed back. The goal of trimming or cutting back your shrubs is to provide them with a shape that will reduce the risk of damage from snow load or ice. Many perennials will benefit from being cut back to around 2 or 3 inches in height. Popular Ottawa area favourites such as hostas, lilies, hydrangeas, ornamental grasses and many others will benefit from a pretty severe pruning come back healthy as ever in Spring. If you are doing the pruning yourself make sure your tools are sharp and clean them frequently to reduce the risk of spreading disease. You should also clean and oil your tools after your pruning is complete.
Some people swear by wrapping evergreens and other shrubs with burlap as part of their Fall property clean up in Ottawa. I caution using this method since damp burlap fabric next to a shrub can potentially cause a fungal issue by Spring. An alternative can be to use a pop up tent made of breathable fabric which is slightly larger than the shrub itself in order to not rub against it. Another option is to build a 2 sided pyramid out if plywood to protect your shrubs. You can also add dried straw to add some insulation to newly planted vegetation. A quality mulch can also be used to insulate shrubs, perennials and trees.
Let’s not forget that Fall is not only a great time for leaf and garden cleanup in Ottawa but also a good time to plan for next Spring. You can hire a gardener or garden service to plant bulbs or colorful Fall annuals such as mums. Home owners can also contact a garden design and maintenance company such as ours to plan and design a makeover of a front yard to add curb appeal or of the backyard to create your low maintenance oasis of tranquility.
Should you require some help with your lawn, garden, plants, shrubs or hedge or simply need leaf cleanup help in Ottawa, Gloucester, Nepean, The Glebe, Dow’s Lake please contact us at [email protected]