ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With the average first freeze for our area a little over a month away, it’s time to start thinking of prepping your lawns and gardens for the end of the season.

But before you break out the bags, Jessica Demasio, the general manager at Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care has some advice: “Leave the leaves.”

Specifically, you want to leave them in your garden. The decomposing leaves can provide nutrients to the garden, as well as act like insulation during the winter months for root systems in the garden. Demasio also recommends leaving what’s already in your garden alone as you shut it down for the winter.

“There could be critters overwintering in the debris and in hiding in the foliage in the stems and things like that,” said Demasio on why less can be more when it comes to your garden cleanup.

The leftover flowers and foliage can also serve as a source of food for non-migratory birds that spend the winter in the area. Your lawn on the other hand, around this time of year, can use a little more attention, such as getting ready to aerate and re-seed in preparation for next year.

“On that last mow of your lawn of the season you want to take it down as short as you can go really,” added Demasio on some of the final preparations you should be doing for your lawn heading into Fall.

While that is still a few weeks away, there other things you want to be on the lookout for, like areas damaged by the hot and dry summer. These can be hideaways for grubs that can damage your lawn in the long run, checking for them is simpler than you think too. 

“What you want to do is cut out like a square foot of turf from your lawn and just kind of cut out a little square and pull it back and if you’re seeing less than 10 grubs in that square foot you really should not have to take any action,” said Demasio.

But if you do, there are grub treatments available that you can spray on the affected areas but remember when it comes to your clean-up and your use of chemicals in and around your yard these days Demasio pushes once again that, less is more.


The average first freeze for our region occurs between October 1 and 11, for more information on the differences between a frost and a freeze you can read this helpful piece from NWS Buffalo.