Cooler temperatures don’t necessarily mean it’s time to start shirking your lawn care duties. There are several steps you can take to ensure that your lawn comes back green and lush in the Springtime.
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While your lawn may not be growing as fast in the autumn season, it still needs to be mowed. Mowing slightly shorter in the fall helps keep the grass from getting broken down by leaves and snow. A good length to sustain in the fall season is two inches or less.
Be sure to lower the cutting length gradually, so that you are mowing no more than a third of the grass blades’ length at any one time. Continue to monitor your lawn’s water needs with a rain gauge. An inch of moisture a week is what it needs to stay healthy. If it’s not getting enough moisture naturally, water once or twice a week.
There is less evaporation in the fall, due to the decrease in daytime temperatures that can cause mid-day evaporation. However, morning is still the best time to water, regardless of the season.
Raking and Dethatching
To prevent the buildup of thatch, which is a mixture of both dead and living organic matter, be sure to rake regularly. First, rake in one direction with a thatching rake to help protect grass roots.
Follow that with a leaf rake, to scoop up remaining sediments you may not want on your lawn. However, keep in mind that some organic matter can help feed the topsoil as it begins to break down.
Raking should be done as leaves collect in your yard. Leaves left on a lawn can block sunlight and promote the growth of fungi by trapping excess moisture.
Aeration is a good way to help you get a jumpstart on a healthy lawn next spring, by allowing nutrients to reach the grass roots. Use an aerator that pulls out plugs of the soil.
An aerator that only punches holes may partially assist your lawn’s health, but not completely. However, making room for fresh water and nutrients by using an aerator that pulls plugs of soil out, can certainly benefit the overall health of your topsoil. rather than one.
Most people think of fertilizing in the spring, and it is certainly important to do so. However, fall is actually the most beneficial time to fertilize your yard.
Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer soon after you’ve aerated your lawn, so that the root system can soak up the nutrients while it is still in a stage of active growth. It is best to fertilize 2-3 weeks before the first freeze, as doing so will allow the grass to absorb beneficial minerals before it goes dormant for the winter season.
Meanwhile, summer can be hard on lawns. This season is a good time to repair any damage done by pools, kids, pets, or other summer activities.
Sod and Reseeding
You can always reseed portions of your lawn to fill in bare spots that may have occurred due to the heat of summer. Just be sure you water them well to give them a chance to thrive!
Sod is a good option for larger areas of damaged grass. Moderate temperatures and adequate moisture are just what sod needs to get off to a good start.
Meanwhile, there are also several preventative measures you can take to keep your lawn healthy.
Treating your lawn for weeds and pests in the fall will help you prepare for a more healthy lawn next year. Use a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent winter and spring weeds. Read more about Ways to Stop Weed Growth.
Fall is a good time to spray for ants and water bugs as well. Spray around the foundation of your home, at about 2-4 inches from the foundation, to create a barrier against pests.
Removing seasonal plants, and replacing them with more appropriate foliage, can also help your lawn look more vibrant and alive in the colder months.
To be better prepared for spring lawn care, clean and sharpen all your tools and mowers blades before you store them for the winter. Another good idea is to drain any irrigation lines before freezing temperatures set in.
Taking these important steps will help you keep a healthy lawn year-round with just a little bit of maintenance.