Mid-October in Southeastern Wisconsin is the perfect time for homeowners to start making that fall checklist to prepare for the winter months to come. With the extended Indian summer temperatures this fall, it is hard to believe that the first frost may be just around the corner, yet the leaves are at their peak of color and falling furiously: just the reminder we needed that the exterior of our home and property should be inspected before the weather turns. Owners of newly built or recently restored custom homes may be facing their first punishing Wisconsin winter, and protecting their investment is of equal concern as anticipating and identifying any potential vulnerabilities.
Whether raking leaves is viewed as a fun family activity or an unwelcome chore, those beautiful Technicolor leaves should not remain too long on the lawn. Wet leaves can create an impermeable layer on healthy lawns, causing them to suffocate while encouraging fungal growth. Periodic leaf clean up throughout the fall is a much better alternative to waiting for all the leaves to fall. Additionally, ensure that any turf repairs, fertilizing and aeration needs are addressed before the lawn enters its winter dormancy. Fall lawn care attention is critical for the continued health of your lawn and ensures a beautiful spring start.
Tending to Trees
Falling leaves are not the only concern in the autumn months, as this time of year is a good time to observe the overall health of the trees, particularly those close to the home. The most important tree maintenance in the fall is to trim dead branches out of the tree and administer fungicide applications to prevent diseases such as diplodia, which tends to affect pine trees in particular. Early changes in leaf color, dead branches as thinning and brown pine needles are all signs of disease. Trimming dead branches and proper pruning techniques also prevent losses of heavy limbs during storms.
Now is the time to also evaluate the home’s exterior, making note of any needed repairs, paying particular attention to the roof, siding, foundation and windows. Any cracks will undoubtedly worsen following the punishing freeze/thaw cycle that may occur multiple times over unpredictable Midwestern winters. Addressing these issues now will prevent compromised areas from worsening as well as unnecessary heat loss. Homes should also be inspected for small holes and cracks that invite small critters to seek refuge.
Gutters and Downspouts
Falling leaves and debris in the autumn months easily clogs gutters, drains and downspouts, and they are clearly more susceptible with heavily wooded properties. Clogged gutters can lead to ice dams in the winter months, forcing water back inside the house, sabotaging their job of diverting water from damaging the home’s foundation and exterior. Additionally, the added weight of collected water along with dampened debris will pull gutters loose and rot siding and trim. Even more, decaying debris is a breeding ground for unwanted insects such as carpenter ants and mosquitoes.
Take advantage of the beautiful fall weather to work outside and ensure that your luxury custom home is well equipped for the colder months ahead.