With the onset of fall, one might get lenient about lawn care considering that winter is most likely going to make the grass go dormant anyway. One tends to forget that the best way to ensure a lush green and healthy lawn is in spring; although a little work needs to be done in the fall.
With temperatures dropping, fall becomes the perfect season for fertilization, weed control and improving the overall health of grass. To give your yard that extra boost, we are here to help you every step of the way.
Cut the grass to the right height
Grass growth might be slower in fall but that does not mean you stop relying on your lawn mower. An ideal cut up to 2.5-3 inches works till the first hard frost. Keeping it too long might make it a breeding place for fungi, too short might damage the root system. The perfect height will ensure that the grass is capable of withstanding winter cold and dryness.
The weather may be getting cooler but that is not your cue to stop watering. More rain and dew will make it look hydrated on the top but the roots tend to suffer during this time. Though your lawn willnot need as much water it will in the summer, providing at least half an inch every week is good enough to prevent it from drying out.
Aerate the soil
Aeration is a very important part of fall care. Generally done once every couple of years, you must determine whether it is needed for your lawn or not. Due to excessive heat during summer, decomposed material also called thatch builds up between the grass and soil surface. This hinders water, light and air from reaching the soil. This is where we aerate the soil.
This can be done with the help of a core aerator which punches holes through the thatch and pulls up plugs of soil. By aerating the lawn, we loosen up the soil compaction allowing more water, oxygen, nutrients and light to reach the soil easily setting the right ground for healthy spring growth.
Fall is the right time to feed your lawn. While the top growth gets slower, grass roots get ample time to flourish during this time. Post aeration, it is always a good idea to add fertilizers to the soil as the plants absorb the right nutrients before freezing in winters.
The feed with the right proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium not just helps in root growth, but disease and cold resistance as well. All the vital nutrients are delivered to the roots which can be seen in spring when your lawn gets covered with lush green grass.
You might notice bare spots in your lawn after summer because of scorching heat and sunlight. This is the time you need to step-up your game in over-seeding. Try using a power seeder which injects seeds in the soil as it causes less damage to the soil.
Seeding right after aeration and fertilization fills up the holes left behind in the process. These holes act as entry points for new grass to germinate and fill up the bare spots in the lawn. Don’t forget to keep the holes moist until germination.
In case of low spots, you must level the ground by raking the soil, adding some lawn soil and then evenly distributing seed all over. Mid August to late September is a good time to seed the lawn. New established grass in fall tends to come back stronger and thicker in spring, so be aware of that when you plant those seeds.
Keeping It clean
We all love how the fall leaves carpet our lawns with those beautiful colors, but they do not act so beautiful for the grass. From blocking light to trapping moisture, the turf suffers the wrath of their beauty and does not get the much-needed autumn sunlight. This is why an annual yard clean up is necessary. You must rake the leaves or use a blower as often as you can. If left to simply rot, the fall leaves become a soggy mess causing irreparable damage to the lawns.
Stay on your toes
If you are looking forward to a relaxed spring and not having to worry about your lawn, now is the time. Other than following each and every step on the way, you need to stay extra vigilant. Whether it is overseeding at the right time or fertilizing the right amount, you must ensure the grass is getting all it needs. Also, get your lawn equipment maintenance done before storing it away for the winter.
Now, just sit back and relax to enjoy your spectacular looking grass in spring. You may even be able to give some pointers to your neighbors next year!