As the summer cools and we enter fall, leaves will begin falling from trees. In Baltimore City, it is important to clear leaves from your yard to ensure that your grass gets enough sunlight and to prevent the leaves from clogging stormwater drains. To manage fall leaves, you can either rake or mow.
Fall Lawn Maintenance
Rake and Bag Leaves
One of the most common ways to manage fall leaves is to rake and bag them, then dispose of them along with your weekly trash collection. Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Costco sell large, inexpensive, paper yard waste bags made specifically or yard waste.
Mow and Mulch Leaves
Another, sustainable approach to managing fall leaves is to mow them, collect them in your mower bag, and use the leaves to mulch around trees, shrubs, or your garden. The leaves will breakdown over winter and add nutrients back into the soil. Many Baltimore gardeners add leaf mulch to their compost bins.
Fall Garden Maintenance
Plant Spring Bulbs
Fall is the time to plant spring-blooming bulbs such as daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips. The bulbs should be planted just before or after the first frost. In Maryland, this is usually late October, but in recent years our autumn has been quite warm heading into November. For depth and more specific timing, check the planting instructions that comes with your bulbs.
Save Summer Bulbs
Summer bulbs such as begonias, dahlias, and gladiolus are not winter hardy in Maryland’s garden zone 6-7. This means that they will not survive the winer cold. To preserve your summer bulbs, dig them up and store them over winter in a cool place with access to air. Do not store them in a sealed plastic bag.
General Fall Maintenance
It is very important to clear drains of debris such as autumn leaves. Clogged drains can cause a backup or flooding that might damage the property. CR residents would be responsible for property damage caused by clogged drains.
Autumn tends to be quite windy and wind can lead to more litter. To help reduce litter, make sure you tightly secure your trash bags and trash bins. With Baltimore’s single-stream recycling program, light recyclables such as paper cups and mail can be caught by the wind on recycling day. Sometimes these things can end up in our yard or stuck in our trees. If we all take a second to grab these things when we see them, it’ll go a long way to keeping our streets clean and prevent our storm drains from backing up.