Fall is the single most important lawn feeding of the year experts say. The final feeding should be applied right before the winter months, when grass is preparing for its long winter nap. The feeding will strengthen the roots and provide nitrogen for a quick spring green up and a healthy lawn next year. Fall is a good time to kill the weeds as well so whether you put down a weed and feed or a winterizer you’ll be providing the nutrients the lawn needs.
Loam is all about texture. It is a mixture of clay, silt and sand. This mixture is important because it holds moisture while allowing for drainage.
Screened loam is passed through, in AJT’s case, a ½-inch screen to remove stones, roots and other debris. To get it unscreened means either you’re energetic and plan to remove all the rocks yourself or it means that you’re filling a large hole and don’t care that it’s full of stuff.
Compost is the decomposed result of organic matter. The organic matter could be from a lawn, flower or vegetable garden bed, weeds, or kitchen items such as coffee grounds, vegetable peels, etc.
Mixing loam and compost together provides plants with nutrients and improves the quality of the soil.
Here’s how it’ll affect the senses:
A handful of composted loam should feel gritty in your hand. It will form a ball easily, yet crumble when pressure is applied.
Loam should give off a sweet, earthy smell. If it has a sour smell then the compost is still decaying. It should be spread out and dried until the sour smell goes away.
Screened loam is perfect for flower beds, topdressing planted areas and lawns.
Proper mixing of concrete will deliver maximum strength and durability. When done well the concrete should last a lifetime.
The cement is caustic and can cause burns if it gets on your skin so be sure to wear heavy waterproof rubber gloves. Safety goggles and a mask will prevent the dust from making you uncomfortable should you breathe it or get it in your eyes.
Mixing container (depending on the size of the job: bucket, wheel barrow, cement mixer, etc.)
Hoe, flat shovel or spade
Stiff-bristle scrub brush
Mixing concrete isn’t complicated but if you don’t get the mix right you won’t get the results you’re looking for. Too little water and the particles won’t stick together; too much water makes it weak.
For small jobs bagged concrete mix is the way to go. For larger jobs call and get a delivery of ready-mix concrete. Using a wheelbarrow makes it easier to move and dump. If you need more capacity, consider renting a mixer for a small daily fee.
- Add water to the dry mix.
Place the concrete mix bag in the wheel barrow and cut open the bag. Dump the mix and remove the bag. To make sure you don’t end up with a soupy mix pour water from a bucket rather than squirting it with a hose. Mix for a few minutes after the water is absorbed because the concrete will get soupier as you mix. Keep a few handfuls of dry concrete mix handy just in case it gets too thin.
- Bracing the wheelbarrow with your knee use the hoe (flat shovel or spade) to mix the cement mix and water. Add water to one end of the wheelbarrow and pull the dry mix into it a little at a time. This ensures all the dry particles get wet. To test, drag your tool through the mix to make a trough. If the sides are crumbly and the concrete falls in chunks it’s too dry. Add one cup of water at a time, mixing after each addition. If it’s too runny add more dry concrete until you get the desired consistency.
- Pour into the prepared area.
Make sure you clean up quickly or you’ll have cement permanently attached to your tools and wheel barrow. Scrape the excess concrete and put it on a piece of plastic. Scrub with a stiff-bristle brush and rinse well. Be sure not to dump the water from the wheel barrow on your lawn, it could kill it.
There’s nothing better than sitting by a fire on a cool Fall evening enjoying the company of family and friends … and maybe a marshmallow or two.
Determine the Location
Make sure it’s far enough away from overhanging trees and anything that could catch fire with flying embers. Lay out the first layer of blocks to find the size of the fire pit and to establish where the sod and soil will be removed.
Build the Foundation Pad
Mark the location of the outside of the blocks with a shovel. Remove the blocks and sod. Dig a trench that is 3-inches deep and 7-inches wide and make it level. Fill the trench with crushed rock and compact it using a hand tamper. The soil beneath the foundation pad must be a good quality compactable material. If it’s soft soil it will need to be removed and replaced with more crushed rock. You need a good foundation to ensure a stable wall for years to come.
Level the Foundation Pad
Place 4 blocks at the cross points of the circle. Place a straight 2×4 between two of the blocks and check to make sure it’s level. Make adjustments where needed by adding or removing crushed rock. Repeat with the other two blocks.
Build the First Layer
Place the first layer of block on the foundation pad. Check each block to make sure it is level from front to back and side to side before placing the next block. This ensures a level base course.
Build the Second Layer
Stack the next layer of blocks, adjusting where needed. The second layer should stagger the first layer. When completed, remove any sod or vegetation from the middle of the fire pit. Put in approximately 50lbs of clean rock within the fire pit area to cover the bottom of the fire pit and rake smooth.
Finish with Wall Caps
Finish your fire pit with Wall Caps. Once the caps are installed secure them in place with a bead of masonry adhesive. The fire pit is complete and ready to enjoy. Add kindling, some firewood and light it up!
Cool nights and shorter days are the ideal time to overseed, fertilize, lime and aerate. Fall is the best time to tend to your lawn for a better result in Spring. In Fall, the roots grow longer resulting in a stronger, thicker lawn.
Remember, a dense lawn has fewer weeds! Overseeding will create a thicker, stronger lawn and choke the weeds right out. Choose the right seed for the area you’re working on. There are shade grasses, sun grasses, slow growing grasses, low maintenance grasses and even high maintenance grasses that require lots of fertilizer and water. So be careful which bag you pick up!
Two applications of fertilizer in the Fall are ideal. In early September put down a weed and feed fertilizer to help get rid of the weeds and increase and strengthen the grass. In late October or early November, after the grass stops growing and before the ground freezes, put down another application. A slow release fertilizer is recommended going into Winter in order to feed your lawn throughout the Winter season.
You’ll want to do a pH test of your soil to determine how much lime the soil needs. Yards with lots of pine trees and/or shade will require more lime, or more treatments of lime, than a sunny yard. If you don’t do a soil test, the normal rate should be 50 to 100 pounds of lime per thousand square feet every 2 years. Putting it down in fall is preferred because rain, snow, and freezing and thawing of the soil help work the limestone into the soil.
With compact soil there’s less air and water, roots can’t grow and earthworms can’t get through. In dry years, soil compaction can lead to stunted, drought stress plants due to decreased root growth; in wet years, it causes the grass to drown. Fall core aeration reduces soil compaction and allows water and oxygen in. Core aeration stimulates growth and reduces moss by allowing the moist soil to dry out.
The cool season grasses of New England should be cut no lower than 2 ½”. If the grass is kept too long into the winter it mats down under the snow and causes damage and snow mold