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Timothy Hill, Gala, Benefit, Ranch, Riverhead
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Hamptons Life

Nov 8, 2018 5:03 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Fall Clean-Ups Bring Lush Spring Yards

Nov 12, 2018 9:56 AM

It’s time to start thinking about a fall cleanup—but it shouldn’t just be about raking and bagging leaves.

“What you do now will determine the quality of your family yard next spring and summer,” said Kris Kiser, the president and CEO of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, an international trade association that represents power equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

Mr. Kiser contends homeowners should stay on top of lawn care as they would during summer months with mowing, mulching, aerating, trimming and patching. He said in a statement that a properly maintained lawn can filter and capture runoff and control erosion that can happen during snowy winter months.

Mowing the lawn during the fall keeps grass healthy. As the seasons change, a groomed lawn will receive more sunlight, which prevents browning.

Aerating prevents the lawn from being covered with thatch—a thick layer of roots, stems and debris that blocks water and nutrients from reaching the soil. Punching holes with a walk-behind aerator, or with an attachment behind a riding mower, can help keep a lawn healthy. And don’t forget to patch up thinning or bald spots, OPEI advises.

Mower blades should be put on the lowest settings until the first hard frost—meadowy lawns attract pests such as field mice.

Rather than raking and bagging fallen leaves, consider mulching leaves instead. Many mowers can mulch leaves and grass. Decomposition should happen quickly with nitrogen-rich grass and carbon-rich leaf bits mixed together, providing nutrients to the soil.

Use trimmers, chainsaws and pole pruners to cut back trees and shrubs from overhead power lines and homes. Winter storms bring the risk of pricey property damage. Homeowners may need to tie or brace limbs of evergreens and other trees to prevent them from breaking during high winds or snow.

Mr. Kiser had some recommendations for the use of outdoor power equipment this fall, too.

“Read your owner’s manual,” he said. “It will describe the individual requirements for your particular machine, and will provide directions on which fuels may be appropriate for your product.”

“And, drain fuel tanks—service and winterize your lawn mower, string trimmer, leaf blower, and other outdoor power equipment—before storing equipment for the winter,” he continued.

The payoff would be when bulbs sprout in a vibrant yard next spring.

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