As summer ends and crisp fall weather is around the corner, now is the time to make a plan for cleaning up leaves and tidying your yard. While planning your autumn decor, don’t forget to tackle fall lawn maintenance.
Here are some of the best ways to prepare your lawn for cold weather.
Fertilize the Lawn
Before choosing a lawn fertilizer, determine what type of grass you have in your yard. Cool-season grasses, like bluegrass and fescue, are best fertilized from September through November. Warm-season grasses, like St. Augustine or Bermuda, do better when fertilized during late summer and early fall. Winterizing fertilizers include extra potassium to prepare the turf for cold temperatures.
Get Rid of Leaves During Fall Lawn Maintenance
Fall leaves are beautiful on the trees, but they rapidly become a nuisance when lying on your lawn. A thick layer of leaves can block sunlight and air circulation and prevent your grass from thriving. Additionally, piles of fallen leaves attract rodents and insects that may move into your house when the weather cools. Rake leaves regularly to keep the lawn clear.
Many homeowners know to water the lawn throughout the summer but stop watering entirely during the fall. Continue watering throughout the fall if the weather is still dry. Use a rain gauge to track how much moisture the grass is receiving. On average, lawns need an inch of water each week in the fall. Use your irrigation system or a hose to provide needed moisture.
Aeration and Overseeding
Two techniques for fall lawn maintenance that guarantee thick, healthy grass in the spring are aeration and overseeding. Aeration uses a specialized machine to take plugs of soil out of compacted turf. This process leaves holes that give grassroots more access to water, sunlight, air, nutrients, and fertilizer you apply. Overseeding is most effective when paired with aeration, as the grass seeds will fill the holes left behind, and new grass will grow.
Plan Your Fall Lawn Maintenance Schedule
To complete fall lawn maintenance tasks, create a schedule to remind you of jobs that need your attention. For example, waiting until late October to aerate and spread seeds might mean the new grass is too young and fragile to survive the winter. Likewise, if you fertilize too late in the season, grass will not be able to use the nutrients before the weather gets cold.