Fall is a great time to assess your yard, put away summer outdoor power equipment and prep and service winter outdoor power equipment. Doing maintenance and assessments in the fall means that your equipment and green spaces will be in good shape when spring arrives, and you will be ready to tackle landscaping projects again. 

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) offers these tips to homeowners to prepare for seasonal weather changes. 

1.       Evaluate your yard. Determine what your family and pets need. Fall is a time for homeowners to examine their yards and determine where trees, plants or shrubs need to be planted, if anything needs to be pruned and what features to enhance in green spaces. 

2.      Complete a yard cleanup. Clear paths and other walkways for your family and pets frequently so they are clean and clear during the fall and winter season. Pick up leaves, especially the wet ones and brush debris off paths and other walkways. 

3.      If planting this fall, choose the “right” plants and safe ones for pets. Select plants that have soft foliage, but are still sturdy enough. Be sure to check the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic garden plants for advice on what known toxic plants to avoid, and check the climate map to choose the right trees, shrubs, grasses and flowering plants for your climate zone.

4.      Review the owner’s manuals for all outdoor equipment.  Re-acquaint yourself with how to handle equipment safely and determine if there are any maintenance needs. If the manual can’t be found, they are usually posted online.

5.      Service and store all outdoor equipment. Before storing warm weather equipment, clean and service it or take it to a small-engine repair shop.  Drain and change engine oil and dispose of old/used oil safely. Service the air filter and perform other maintenance activities directed by the service manual. Check and do the same with all winter equipment too. 

For more information on safe handling of outdoor power equipment visit www.opei.org.

For more tips on taking care of green spaces and making them pet-friendly, visit www.LivingLandscapesMatter.com.

About TurfMutt
Created in partnership with Scholastic, the TurfMutt (www.turfmutt.com) program educates children in grades K-5 about taking care of green spaces while learning science. Sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s Education and Research Foundation, the program’s mascot, Lucky the TurfMutt, is a rescue dog who “paws it forward” by inspiring children and their families to take care of the green spaces we all love and enjoy.