With hot weather and long days soon behind us, it's time to help your embattled lawn and garden recover from searing temperatures. Whether your yard is drowning in water or in desperate need of some moisture, don't fret because there are solutions available to help solve your garden woes. Try these simple ideas to get your outdoor space ready for the winter months.
"When the signature signs of autumn, cooler evenings and colorful foliage, are approaching it's the perfect time to prepare your yard for colder months," said Patti Price, senior vice president of merchandising for outdoor living at Lowe's. "By reseeding and applying a fall fertilizer before the winter months, it will ensure not only a healthy yard but one that's the talk of the town come next spring."
If Your Yard Goes 'Crunch': Bill Fields, vice president of merchandising for lawn and landscape at Lowe's recommends the following steps for bringing a dry lawn back to its former lush life. September and October are ideal months to overseed in order to revive a drought ridden lawn for the next spring.
Control the weeds: Weeds tend to do well when grass is stressed. Two to three weeks before the restoration process starts, kill the weeds.
First, mow the grass and weeds and two days later apply a herbicide such as Spectracide(R) Weed Stop(R) 2x for Lawns (#98415, $7.47). Check herbicide labels before using, and select an appropriate chemical for the weed types and lawn type in your yard.
Remove the weeds and dead grass: You can accomplish with a metal rake or by mowing your lawn as short as possible and catching the clippings, making mulch or compost. For extreme soil compaction, you may consider a core aerator. Aerators, such as the Precise Fit 42" Spike Aerator (#175341, $108.98), are essential tools for breaking up tough, dry chunks of soil to allow for greater movement of water, fertilizer and air.
Prepare your lawn surface: You can apply seed, starter fertilizer and lime all in the same day, one application after another, but never mix them together in the same spreader at the same time.
Water the lawn normally. Keep it moist until seed germinates -- usually 14 to 21 days. Try a strong gardening hose with a powerful nozzle, like the Gilmour(R) Fireman's Nozzle (#228761, $19.97), which is both easy-to-control and emits the ultimate turbo spray.
If Your Yard Goes 'Squish': What steps should soggy homeowners take to get their lawns prepared for winter so they are picture-perfect by spring?
Fields recommends the following for those suffering from oversaturation: -- Check for critters: Wet weather can bring out lawn-damaging bugs. Look for ants and other pests in the soil to determine if you need additional treatment. Then apply an insect killer like Spectracide(R) Triazicide(R) Once & Done!(TM) Insect Killer (#15356, $9.97 for 1 gallon) to eliminate any bugs above and below ground.
Watch for weeds: Lawns that were thinned provide a perfect environment for winter weeds such as dandelion, henbit, chickweed and clover. Use Sta-Green(R) Winterizer Weed & Feed (#11635, $11.47 for 5,000 sq. ft.) to help build a stronger root system while controlling late-season weeds.
Feed your lawn for hibernation: Grass needs extra nutrients to withstand the winter weather. Put down Sta-Green(R) Winterizer (#95549, $9.97 for 5,000 sq. ft.) to strengthen roots while the slow release formula delivers extended greening in the fall and early greening in the spring.
Over seed for the future: Select a two-in-one combination soil/starter fertilizer, such as Pennington Starter Fertilizer (#129994, $9.97 for 5,000 sq. ft.). Use this soil before you put down grass seed to ensure that roots are deeply in place to survive harsh winter elements.
Winter blues creeping up? Add some color this fall: Mike Gettler, vice president of merchandising for nursery at Lowe's, offers tips for ways to spruce up fall landscape and add color:
Replace summer annuals with fall bloomers such as royal purple, lavender and gold pansies to update the look of your garden. You'll stop traffic with curb appeal that will last for months. Using Miracle-Gro(R) Organic Choice(R) Garden Soil (#156825, $4.47) on in-ground plants will promote sturdy roots for more active plant growth.
Invite color into your landscape: One of America's classic flowers, the chrysanthemum, happens to be a fall bloomer. Take advantage of its magentas, dark reds and shocking pinks and plant them in window boxes or outdoor planters.
Plant and harvest vegetables: For foliage that holds up in colder climates, plant ornamental cabbage or kale, whose chic lettuce-green and purple color scheme will add just the right splash of color to any garden and lawn. Fall is an ideal time to plant and harvest hardy vegetables -- find out which vegetables will work well in your winter garden from local Lowe's trained nursery specialists.
Once you have completed your fall gardening chores, be sure to store tools and equipment as well as outdoor furniture, in durable and easily accessible storage like the Hillcrest 8' x 12.5' Utility Shed (#199309, $1,148).