Summer is slowly winding down; the dog days of August are quickly going to fade into a distant memory as the leaves start changing. The kids are back in school, which gives you some time to make sure that your home is ready for the winter. Why worry about it, fall doesn’t officially start until the 22nd right? Well starting next month, many of us are going to use our furnaces for the first time this season (yes even for many in the south).
As always please stay safe, if you feel uncomfortable, do not understand how to complete a task, etc… please call in a professional.
- Change out your HVAC filter.
- Test your Smoke Detector
- Wash out your garbage cans, disinfect, rinse and dry thoroughly.
- Gutters & Roofing
- Clean your gutters and make sure your downspouts are clear & water flows freely
- Clean any debris off your roof, especially the valleys and ridge vents. While you are up there check your roof for any missing or damaged shingles, cracked or missing chunks of tar, rubber or silicone and make any small roof repairs required now.
- Now that you are safely back on the ground, it is time to trim any trees, bushes, or other foundation plantings so that they do not rub or grow up against the house. All dead wood, shrubs, etc… should be removed to eliminate nesting areas for insects.
- For those with Basement’s
- Check your basement for cracks or leaks, and seal or repair if possible. If you cannot get them repaired, at least take some pictures and document any problems you may find. This will at least give you a frame of reference come next spring to see how quickly problems are progressing.
- If you have a sump pump, test, clean and lubricate it.
- Make sure your window well covers not only seal properly (to help keep leaves out) but also open easily.
- Speaking of window wells, make sure any leaves, twigs, etc… are cleaned out & the drain is open to allow melting snow & rain to drain away & not into your house.
- Heating Systems
- Time to get your main heating system serviced – you know what happens when you do not – the heat does not work and it seems that everyone else had the same issue, so you get to wait and shiver until the heating person shows up.
- If you have a fireplace or woodstove, you should already have your winter’s supply of wood already covered and being seasoned. If not get some stocked up quickly. You should also have the chimney(s) cleaned and checked before you fire it up
- Clean and inspect your decks for damage or rot – now is a great time of year to re-stain them
- Check all the hand rails and steps to make sure they are clean, safe, and secure also
- While we are still outside, check the siding and doors – caulk & install new weather stripping as needed
- Keep removing weeds from your garden
- Plant fall and winter vegetables and root crops like cabbage, collards, celery, garlic, onions, peas, and spinach.
- Other items to plant include early maturing tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, onions, & radishes
- Continue Mowing and watering as required
- Fertilizing now also encourages good root development.
- Seed the bare spots of your lawn with winter grass seed or over-seed the whole lawn if so desired.
- Planting / Flowering Beds
- Add compost, manure, and mulch as required
- Mark the locations of plants that die back, so you do not accidently uproot them later (i.e. spring cultivation, planting of bulbs, etc…)
- Start prepping for your fall annuals, remove the weeds, litter & deadhead the flowers from plants that are starting to die back
- Divide up / thin out clumps of perennials, bulbs, iris’s – plant new perennials & biennials
- Towards the end of this month through early October – start planting your spring bulbs
- Remove sick or dead trees and shrubs.
- Take soil tests for necessary additives that may be needed for next year’s garden, lawns & planting beds (as each area requires different nutrients, consider three separate tests)
- Towards the end of this month, you might want to consider bringing your fresh herbs inside and placing them by a sunny window: • Rosemary • Oregano • Mints • Chives • Thyme • Marjoram • Scented geranium
Other items to consider
- If your planning on travelling this Holiday Season, start planning & researching your travel itinerary and book your flights and accommodations as early as possible
- Seasonal items are going on sale like gardening supplies & lawn mowers
- Check your vehicles and make sure that any small problems are taken care of.
- Check each tire’s tread and pressure, the battery, and all fluid levels.
- Replace your windshield wipers, if they are 2 years old or older.
- Create a winter emergency kit and put it in the trunk (snow chains, flares, water, high energy snacks, blankets, a flashlight with spare batteries, jumper cables, and a first aid kit)