Fall lawn preparation is important to ensure a healthy start for the grass growing season next year. Several steps should be taken during this time of year to ensure the cooler winter weather will not delay new growth which begins in early spring.
These steps can help with that goal:
- Feed Your Lawn — During late fall, apply an even treatment of fertilizer throughout the grass area of your yard. The roots are still growing during this time and need nutrients to ensure the process continues into the cooler months. Try not to miss any areas if you are using a walk-behind spreader. This may result in uneven patches of growth over time. While fertilizing, take note of any bald patches that will need repairing. Loosen the soil in these areas and apply a lawn repair mixture.
- Mow and Rake — Mowing the lawn during the fall allows the weaker sunlight to reach the blades of grass. Some experts recommend cutting the grass lower during this time of year while others recommend leaving it the same height as in summer months. Raking the leaves at this time is also very important. Leaves that are wet from morning dew will not only block sunlight but cause fungal diseases. The sooner you clean up the leaves, the better chance your grass will have at avoiding this condition. It doesn’t matter whether your yard is small enough to hand rake or you use a vacuum device attached to a power mower.
- Remove Weeds — Removing broadleaf weeds is another step in fall lawn preparation. Dandelions and other weeds will steal nutrients that are meant for your grass. Use a herbicide to eliminate the weeds before they resurface in the spring. It is very important to closely follow the instructions for any weed-killer so there is no damage to the grass area of the lawn. Certain weed control chemicals are best used when temperatures are at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This information should be listed on the label.
- Thatch Control — A thick build-up of dead grass roots and stems between grass blades and soil is called thatch. Aerating the soil helps eliminate a 1/2 inch or less thatch condition. A 3/4 inch or greater tangle of thatch should be handled by adding a layer soil or compost called a top dressing. This will add microorganisms which break down the thatch. Raking can help with a minor thatch condition.
The main goal of fall lawn preparation is a strong healthy start for next growing season. These steps can save you time and aggravation in the spring. If you are planning an outside yard event for early spring, your guests will enjoy a green thick lawn, and with some maintenance throughout the year, your family can enjoy your yard right through the summer.