5 Tips for Eco-Friendly Autumn Yard Work 

Photo: edenpictures / Flickr

Though many people gear up to work on their gardens in the spring, fall is actually an ideal time for yard work. Here are a few ideas for bringing your garden to life in the fall without polluting the environment or wasting materials.  

Choose hand-powered or electric tools over gas. As homeowners tackle the job of raking leaves, clearing gardens, and cleaning yard debris, they create a lot of noise and pollution. In fact, one gas-powered leaf blower can emit as much pollution as 80 cars! Instead of leaf blowers, use rakes; use hand-powered garden trimmers, and a push mower if your yard allows it. If you must use motorized tools, go for electric over gas-powered. 

Plant trees. By the time autumn rolls around, summer heat waves are long past, rainfall is usually more plentiful, and new trees, bushes and flowers have a greater chance of surviving than they would if they were planted during a hotter season. Choose species native to your area as well as those that are drought and pest resistant and can grow in the kind of soil and amount of sunlight available on your property.

Fertilize organically. When preparing your soil for next year, add organic, slow-release fertilizers that will help enhance your soil over time. These fertilizers are made of natural materials, contain vital nutrients to help your plants grow, and prevent plants from getting nitrogen. Most garden stores today carry a wide variety of organic fertilizers; many catalog companies also sell organic products, or you can use the compost you processed yourself...

Compost your leaves. Falling leaves are beautiful and valuable. Instead of bagging leaves and leaving them out with the trash, collect and compost them to create nutrient-rich, organic soil that will be ready for use by the spring. Check out our tips on composting here.

Can and store summer's bounty. Canning is a time-honored way to ensure that your garden keeps giving all year round. Imagine eating soups, jellies, herbs, and salsas from your own garden all winter long! Here are some instructions to get you started.