Time to make your fall ‘to do’ listWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
The best way to put together your fall “to do” list is by being a house detective, according to Joe Peschel, coordinator for workforce and community services at Owens Community College.
“Take a look at everything,” he said … “The time to do it is now, not when it is 10 below and snow is blowing.”
To get the list started, look for loose pieces of aluminum trim and shingles and fix them, he said.
On top of all “to do” lists should be the purchase of a setback thermostat, Peschel said.
The thermostat, which can cost as little as $30, will help save energy and money when winter arrives by dropping temperature settings when you aren’t at home, Peschel said.
He also suggests surveying your property, looking to see if there are any cracks and then adding weather stripping and caulking.
Peschel also advised paying attention to insulation. Heat rises, and insulating in the attic is a must.
“If you don’t have a stairway, just a hatch or an opening to the attic, put some insulation on top of it,” he said.
Other things that should make the list including unhooking hoses, cleaning debris out of gutters, and inspecting the heating system.
“The time to fix a prospective problem is before you have a situation,” Peschel said.
Chris Foley, associate professor of landscaping and turf management program, also has suggestions for a “to do” list.
- Proper tree selection and placement can minimize air-conditioning cost.
- Select large growing shade trees with a vase-shaped growing habit and plant 10 to 15 feet away from the south and west sides of your house.
- Planting an evergreen hedge on the west property line will help block cold winter winds that can suck heat from your house.
Save your lawn
- Turfgrass requires approximately 1 inch of water per week to stay actively growing. After a couple of weeks of no water, grasses begin to go dormant.
- After four weeks of no rain, your lawn is dormant, and the roots and crowns (plant parts that grasses grow from) are dying.
Fall is for planting
- Fall is the best time of year to plant trees, shrubs and grass.
- All that matters to a new transplant during its first year is growing roots. The problem is when planted in the spring, trees and shrubs only have two months to grow roots before the hot, dry summer. When planted in late September or October, new transplants can grow roots into December and continue growing more in the spring.
Beautify your yard
- Fall is also the time to plant all those spring flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils and crocus.
- Some of the tender, herbaceous perennials (plants that die to the ground in winter and come back the next spring) need a little extra protection for the winter. Wait until the tops die back and it is getting cold. Cut them back to the ground and put fresh mulch around them.
Minimize disease issues
- If you have plants that you suspect had a leaf disease this year, it is important to do a thorough job of raking up and disposing those leaves this fall.
Make trees healthier
- It is better to fertilize in the fall than in the spring. By fertilizing in October or early November, trees and shrubs absorb the nutrients and have them built in for next spring.
Beef up your lawn
- If your lawn made it through this years’ drought, or if you had to replant it, fall is the best time to fertilize. Grass will absorb the nutrients and store them.