December 19, 2017 0

Fall Home and Landscape Checklist

While the holiday season tends to focus on indoor activities, there are several things to do outdoors, too. From making your home attractive and welcoming to visitors and passers-by to getting a head start on spring, here are some things to consider.

Trim Your Trees and Shrubs

Heavy, wet snows and ice buildup can cause limbs to droop and break, causing hazards to the plant’s health and risking damage to property. Even if they don’t break, drooping branches can contact power lines, creating electrocution hazards. Have a professional arborist assess your trees and shrubs and trim them as needed.  Then use evergreen cuttings for wreaths and garlands.

Recycle Fallen Leaves

Tree leaves are rich in organic material and nutrients. Mulch them into your lawn with a mower or use them in your garden as mulch, compost, or insulation. Read more about putting fallen leaves to good use here.

Add Evergreens as Container Plants

Small evergreens, both coniferous and broadleaf, make welcoming additions to porches and patios year-round. Add lights and decorations for extra holiday cheer. Most evergreens can stay in pots for several years and then be replanted into your landscape for added enjoyment.

Be Ready for Storms

Check your snow shovels, ice scrapers, and snow blower for functionality. Repair and replace as necessary, and keep them handy. If you use deicer, pick one that won’t harm your landscape or pavement, and stock up before storms hit. Learn about plant-safe deicers here. And don’t overlook warm clothing for yourself. While you’re at it, be sure you have food, bottled water, batteries, blankets, first aid kits, flashlights and candles ready in your home and vehicles in case of extended power outages or roadside emergencies.

Help Wildlife Through the Winter

Local birds can find food and water hard to come by when winter snow buries the landscape and water stays frozen for long periods. Squirrel-proof feeders and fresh water will be welcome and attract them for your enjoyment. Bears, deer, and rabbits can be unwelcome visitors, though, so don’t add temptation. Use bear-proof trash cans, wrap trees with tender bark to discourage browsing, and keep feeders out of reach. Aside from dangers posed by large game, you put them at risk by drawing them away from their natural sources of food.

Do a Winter Walkaround

Take a spin or two around your house and yard to check for potential trouble. Make sure rails are sturdy and stairs, walks, and paths are even and clutter-free so trip and slip hazards won’t be hidden by snow. Check for gaps around the foundation, roofline, and siding and cover vents with hardware cloth to keep critters from intruding. And don’t forget to check that all your hoses are drained and disconnected to prevent burst pipes.


Visit the Donovan Arborists website at for complete information about our company and our services for both homeowners and businesses. While you’re there, take a look at our Treeology blog for in-depth information about growing and caring for your landscape.

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