The steps you take during your fall lawn care program are among the most crucial. Fall lawn care, including winterizing your lawn, sets the stage for how your lawn will weather winter damage.
Follow these lawn care tips to help bolster your lawn’s defenses against winter stresses. In addition, you will learn ways to repair wear and tear from spring and summer. Whether you prefer to take an active part in your lawn care program or prefer to use a lawn care company, and whether you prefer organic lawn care products or more traditional, the following lawn care tips can be useful.
Fall Lawn Care Tip #1: Test Your Soil
Before you begin any fall lawn care procedures, one of the most important elements of a fall lawn care program is to have your soil tested. Testing the soil will shed light on the existing levels of nutrients, pH and other factors that affect growth in plants and grass. The results will also help your lawn care specialist select an appropriate type of lawn fertilizer. If the test shows a need to reduce acidity, a lime application will correct the pH.
Fall Lawn Care Tip #2: Aerate
Aeration is a process of removing soil cores from your lawn to help improve water, air and nutrient movement in the soil. Aerating your lawn reduces soil compaction from foot and lawn mower traffic and works to break down thatch, that buildup of organic matter beneath the blades of the grass but above the soil. These two conditions impede air and water movement to the soil and work to weaken your lawn’s root system.
Fall Lawn Care Tip #3: Fertilize
Lawn fertilizer is a key element of fall lawn care. By fertilizing your lawn this fall, you will be making an investment in your lawn’s root system that will reap considerable returns. Two or three applications of lawn fertilizer scheduled evenly between September and December will provide your lawn with the nutrients that it needs to develop a deep, strong root system. This will enhance your lawn’s ability to draw water from the soil so that it survives the winter and thrives next spring.
Be sure that you (or your lawn care provider) include a slow release formula which will last through November. Once top growth of your lawn ceases, use an all-mineral lawn fertilizer for the final application in preparation for winter.
Lawn Care Tip #4: Seed
Fall is the best time to plant grass if your lawn is thin or if you wish to plant new types of grass due to poor color or diseases. Proper seeding includes preparation of the soil, choosing high quality grass seeds selected for the specific needs of your lawn, and applying the right rate. Once the seeding is complete, water is the critical element!
Lawn Care Tip #5: Irrigate
Even though the temperature has dropped, it is still necessary to water the lawn. Grass needs water in order to survive, so make sure your lawn gets at least one inch of water per week. You can use a rain gauge or pan to help you.
Lawn Care Tip #6: Clean up & Mow
Keeping a lawn free of debris and mowing properly are critical. To prepare your lawn for winter, rake up leaves no more than two weeks after they fall to prevent stress from suffocation and lack of light. Once all of your leaves are cleaned up, you should mow the lawn one final time after it stops growing. This final mowing can be at a reduced mowing height of 2 to 2.5 inches.