Do Late-Season Lawn Care Before Winter

Don’t let the snow start falling without first taking care of your lawn, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says. To ensure a lush, green expanse of grass in the spring, rake and dethatch your lawn, then aerate it to reduce soil compaction. October is a good time to fertilize, weed and seed your lawn, too, to promote new growth that crowds out broadleaf weeds. Buy a soil test kit from your local garden center to if you’re having trouble establishing grass and other plants; you’ll want to balance soil to about 6.5 pH and may need to add lime, sulfur, potash, potassium and other enhancements to get your grass to grow.

It’s Time to Plant Flowering Bulbs for Spring

October is the perfect time to plant the bulbs that will bring your garden color next spring and throughout the year, says the Dodge City Daily Globe. Most flowering bulbs perform well in conditions with full sun to part shade, and sandy loam or ameliorated garden soils with a pH of 6.0–7.0. Planting depths vary — large bulbs such as tulips should be planted about 6″ deep, while smaller bulbs need as little as 2″ of soil cover. Plant bulbs in clumps for best results in display; they are not “row” flowers like many annuals. Keep the soil moist, add a layer of mulch, and wait for the spring thaw and colorful blooms!

Enjoying the Fall Foliage (And Cleaning Up After It)

Every year at about this time, deciduous trees start to change color and lose their leaves. The rainbow of colors is a spectacle many enjoy will viewing on a crisp fall weekend, as the changes progress southward through October alongside cooler temperatures.

Optimum viewing depends upon your location. Fall colors are already starting to peak in the New England states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, TripSavvy says, as well as the northernmost reaches of Minnesota and Michigan. Other locations are just beginning to see the leaves turn.

While fall colors come with colder weather, the good news is that thanks to an exceptionally wet spring and summer, 2019 may have some of the most vibrant fall foliage ever seen in many locations. Most areas of the country will see a range of yellows, oranges and reds in the next six weeks, according to a fall foliage forecast.

To make the most of fall leaf-peeping, says Yankee magazine’s Jim Salge, check the timing in your area online. Plan on a doing a couple of hours’ drive to chase the peak colors, he notes, and try to sample a few other fall activities such as harvest festivals along the way.

Those stuck at home, of course, may find the leaves changing color and falling to be more of a nuisance. To clean them up effectively, get the right tools, says The Spruce. Attach a bagging system to your mower, use a leaf blower or get an ergonomically designed rake to collect all of nature’s seasonal detritus in one pile or place.

Then — instead of bagging those leaves and setting them out for garbage pickup — a thriftier and more ecofriendly option is to use the organic material to amend the soil in your garden and lawn. Use shredded leaves as mulch or add them to a compost heap to reintegrate their nutrients into new growth, the site says.

Shred leaves for the best results in composting, Compost Guide says, and turn the heap at least every three weeks to ensure that the organic matter gets the chance to break down by the time you plant again. Or simply gather your leaves in a heap and let them decay into a nutritious mulch.

Whether you like to look at the leaves change colors or want the satisfaction of getting them off your lawn and out of sight, October offers plenty of options. Enjoy the season!

The Most A-maze-ing Fall Favorite

Nothing says harvest time — and hilarity — like a corn maze. This unusual fall activity first sprang up in the Midwest, of course, and continues to thrive there. But corn mazes can now be found throughout the country and even well into southern and western states, such as Texas and Washington. Some are themed (haunted, outer space, etc.), says Red Tricycle, but none will let you get lost indefinitely if you can’t solve the interactive puzzle on your own. And many have additional attractions, such as petting zoos, food concessions, and u-pick apple orchards and pumpkin patches.

Thrift Your Way to a Festive Fall

One of the best things to do as fall begins is get ahead on upcoming events on the cheap. Thrift stores stocked with donations from ClothingDonations.org can be a valuable resource for many fall events. Need a vintage dress for homecoming? Thrift it. Building a scarecrow for your fall festival? There is no place better than the thrift to find colorful, inexpensive clothing that can be stuffed with straw. Need a creative Halloween costume, or some ideas for one? Go directly to the thrift! Your purchases will fund valuable programs that help thousands of the nation’s veterans and their families.