After a summer of relentless heat and sun, we can revel in the coming cool of autumn.

And with a little TLC, our lawn and gardens can also benefit and blossom during the cooler weather. Steps you take now will not only enhance your enjoyment through winter, but also beautify your landscape next spring.

Clear Out the Old
Start your fall gardening by clearing out non-thriving plant matter. Prune plants and shrubs, pull out weeds and remove debris. Remove aging annuals and vegetables to make space for new plantings. This is also a great time to divide perennials and dig up and store delicate bulbs for winter.

Autumn is also a good time to tend your trees. Trim dead branches, but avoid excessive pruning prior to the first freeze. And make sure you clean up all fallen fruit to limit disease spread.

Nurturing the soil in autumn heals the damage of summer and prepares your lawn and garden for the spring.

Here is how to nurture your soil:
• For flower beds and vegetable gardens, till the soil and finish with compost or slow-release natural fertilizers.
• For your lawn, dethatch and aerate compacted areas and follow with a top-dressing of compost. For areas of healthy lawn, top-dressing or fertilizing alone will suffice. And to prevent the sprouting of cold season weeds, this is the perfect time to spread pre-emergent weed treatments.
• Fertilize your trees to their drip line and do not let any herbicides fall within that area.
• Add mulch to tree and flower beds.

Plant New
Fall is a great time to plant or transplant. So review your current landscape. What is working, what is not, and what would you like to change? Then, get creative!

Consider these ideas:
• Fill your landscape with fresh blooms of color. Toss wildflower seeds in a sunny spot and you will have butterfly friendly blooms in no time!
• Start a vegetable garden. There are many varieties like lettuce, broccoli and carrots that love the cooler weather.
• Add or transplant a beautiful shade tree. Autumn is the ideal time!
• Reseed or re-sod your lawn. Any areas that look a bit thin will benefit. Native grass seeds do especially well when planted now.

Plan Big Changes
Finally, if you have dreams of changing your landscape plan or adding a new feature like a patio or a flowerbed, this is a great time to draw up plans and schedule the work.