Seven Must-Have Tools for Fall Backyard Maintenance Seven Must-Have Tools for Fall Backyard Maintenance

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Ask any lawn care professional: Expertise and experience are important elements when tending to a backyard. But it's the equipment you use that can determine whether you'll have a lush, thriving yard when spring comes around.

With the right gadgets in your garage, you'll have a head start on cultivating a golf-course-quality yard. But how do you choose between the hundreds of lawn and garden products on the market, all of which promise to give your green thumb a helping hand? Here are seven must-have tools to ensure quick and easy fall yard maintenance.

Rake

Sure, they're beautiful, but an unraked layer of autumn leaves can get matted down over the turf and smother it all winter long. Going over leftover leaves with a plastic rake or mulching mower in the fall will help avoid dead patches on your lawn in the spring.

Fertilizer spreader

Rejuvenating your lawn in the fall is one of the best ways to protect against stresses like heat, cold, drought, and insects. Using a slow-release fertilizer allows the grass to soak up nutrients and - just as important - spend the cool days and nights of autumn recovering from summer heat and stress.

Weeder

Weeding in the fall is a great way to reduce the amount of work you'll need to do in the spring. The good news: Pulling weeds used to be a backbreaking chore, but tools like the Weed Hound have come a long way from the tiny weeding forks of "the good old days." There's no reason to get down on your hands and knees and gouge at the turf. With the Weed Hound, all you do is place the tool over the weed, step lightly on the footrest, and pull.

Bulb planting tool

Autumn is an ideal time to plant spring flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips. But it can be a big job, especially if you're planning to plant dozens - or even hundreds - of bulbs. Tools like the stand-up Bulb Hound Garden Planter make quick work of mass bulb plantings. Step on the foot plate and the coring tube cuts through the ground, then squeeze the hand lever and the tube opens, releasing the soil. Another bulb planting aid to consider is the Planting Auger, which attaches to a cordless drill and bores through the soil quickly and easily.

Dethatcher

A build-up of aboveground roots called thatch prevents sunlight, oxygen and moisture from getting to the nutrient-hungry soil below. But it's easy to remove, especially if you don't wait until it overwhelms the yard. Just go at the yard with a dethatching rake in early fall. For an easier - although more expensive - option, rent a power dethatcher.

Aerator

Heavy use throughout the summer can cause soil to become compacted. Perforating your lawn with small holes helps reduce compaction and allows water, air and fertilizer get down to the soil, which strengthens the grass plant's root structure. Smaller yards can benefit from a manual aerating tool that removes plugs from the turf while you step. If you've got a larger yard, consider renting a power aerator.

Root irrigator or soaker hose

Dehydration during the colder months is an all-too-common cause of tree damage, but it's easily preventable. To sustain them over the long winter, it's important to give trees a drink before putting them to bed. After they go fully dormant - but before the ground freezes - use a soaker hose or root irrigator to water them thoroughly.

With a little work now - and the right tools - you can lay the groundwork for a healthy backyard that's ready to thrive next spring.
Courtesy of ARA Content

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