Fall lawn care is necessary if you want a great looking lawn in the Spring and a lawn that is easy to keep looking great all through the summer. This article will provide you with 10 steps to help you implement the best Fall lawn care plan. First, I want to share with you how I learned about this Fall lawn care plan which will result in the growth of a beautiful lawn in the Spring.
Fall Lawn Care for Homeowners
When we bought our first home, I didn’t pay any attention to Fall lawn care. After all, I assumed that the grass became dormant during the winter, and the Spring would bring back the lush green lawn that I had in the summer. When other lawns in the neighborhood began to grow again, my yard looked like it was dying.
You can imagine my disappointment as I looked every day for the lawn to start growing like the lawn I expected to see. Instead, I began to see weeds growing in spots where the grass was not thick enough to prevent the weeds from taking root. I did not know that so many different weeds existed, and I actually thought every kind of weed was in my lawn.
I set out to learn what went wrong with my lawn care plan. I called the previous owner who had left the home with an absolutely beautiful lawn. I asked him to tell me why the lawn looked the way it did. He said that I probably did not prepare the lawn for Spring by doing the right Fall lawn care. I made notes about our conversation, and I also went to the local garden center that employed a recognized lawn care expert and I asked him.
I want to share with you the secrets I learned for the best Fall lawn care preparation. These steps are easy. The lawn care supplies you will need are available at your local garden center. I recommend buying supplies from this source because the employees will know which products will work best for your soil and for the climate in your area.
STEP 1: Take A Picture Of Your Lawn To The Local Garden Center
Making a picture of the areas of your lawn that look like they may need special attention will help you get information about the kind of fall fertilizer you need and any other product that may be required to eliminate diseases in your lawn. You may want to take a piece of turf with you that exhibits a particularly troublesome condition. You can get advice on how to repair damaged turf. The steps that follow will provide other information you will need to prepare your lawn for the fall.
If you’re new to fall lawn care then it’s always good to get a second opinion and an educated professional will be able to give you the information you need to give you a durable lawn that will endure through the seasons.
This article will give you some useful tips to help you prepare your lawn for winter.
Step 2: Continue To Water
Your lawn will need water in the fall if the weather has been dry. Be sure to water enough for the water to penetrate deep into the soil. A good depth is six inches. Your lawn is beginning to store nutrients and repair areas that have been damaged by the wear and tear that a lawn typically experience during the summer.
Step 3: Aerate The Lawn
Have fun and aerate your lawn with aerator shoes, available on Amazon.
This step can be handled a variety of ways. You can aerate your lawn by taking a pitch fork from your garage and sticking it into the ground. That’s the cheapest way to do it. However, a pitch fork is not necessarily the most efficient tool to use to aerate your lawn.
What is aeration? Wikipedia says:
A lawn aerator is a garden tool or machine designed to create holes in the soil in which lawn grasses grow. In compacted lawns, aeration improves soil drainage and encourages worms, microfauna and microflora which require oxygen.
For a healthy lawn, you want to avoid compacting the soil, so using a proper aerator is ideal and the best long-term solution. You don’t necessarily have to buy an aerator as you can either rent one or have a lawn care company aerate your lawn. You have options. You also have to take into account your lawn size. For a small lawn, you won’t need a full aerator; and as silly as it sounds, a pitch fork or using aerator shoes are perfectly adequate if this is your first attempt at aeration.
Aerating simply improves the water, air and nutrient flow to the grass roots, which enables your grass to receive all the nutrients it requires to thrive. When a lawn is neglected it begins a slow descent into starvation as it’s slowly cut off from receiving the proper lawn ‘nutrition.’ You — as a human being — wouldn’t be able to thrive in your own life if your air and water supply was restricted. Well, lawns are living organisms and they also require a consistent flow of nutrients.
Also, a well aerated lawn allows fertilizer to get deeper into the lawn and reach the roots. A compacted lawn makes it very difficult for air, water and nutrients to move through the soil.
Step 4: Remove The Thatch
You can buy thatching rakes that are designed to remove thatch from your lawn. Removing thatch is a good step because too much thatch will slow the penetration of fertilizer and water to the grass roots. You can measure the amount of thatch in your lawn by cutting out a small piece of the lawn and checking the depth of the thatch. Any amount more than one-half inch indicates that thatch removal is necessary.
Learn more about thatch and dethatching by reading our review of the Greenworks Dethatcher 27022. The first section of the article discusses in detail what thatch is.
Step 5: Apply A Fertilizer That Includes A Weed Prevention Product
Use a fertilizer with the right mix of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. The amount of each will vary depending on where you live and the soil type. Your local garden center can advise you on the best mix of these chemicals for you lawn. If you really want to get the right mix, you can have your soil tested for its pH content. You can prevent most weeds in the spring by using a fertilizer with a weed prevention product included.
A couple good options for fertilizers are:
- Scotts Turf Builder
- Scotts WinterGuard
Step 6: Eliminate Weeds In The Lawn
This is an important step to prevent weeds from sprouting in the Spring. Weeds can quickly destroy your lawn if you don’t take action. Too often homeowners spend all their time getting rid of the weeds but your focus should be on prevention.
If you want to eliminate weeds you have to grow and nurture a healthy lawn. Weeds are a sign that your lawn in unhealthy. A lush lawn with thick deep roots won’t allow weeds to flourish. It’s important to understand why and how weeds develop.
Once you get rid of your weeds you then have to turn your attention to strengthening your lawn as you would focus on improving your immune system after suffering from an illness. Strengthen you lawn in order for it develop an immunity to weeds.
Learn more by reading: Best Weed Killer for Lawns
Step 7: Cut The Grass At A Shorter Height
If you increased the height of your mower blades for the summer, then reduce the height for Fall cutting. The point of this step is to prevent the grass from matting under the weight of snow, but don’t cut the grass so short that it exposes the base of the grass blades.
Fall is the only time of year that you should cut your lawn between 1.5″ to 2-inches. There are two main reasons why you want to keep your lawn short. First, it will greatly reduce the it’ll lessen the chance of snow mold forming when the snow melts at the end of winter. And, by keeping your grass shor, tall grass blades won’t fold over and choke your new grass when spring arrives.
This is an simple thing you can do as a part of your fall lawn care.
Step 8: Spread Grass Seed Over Your Lawn
Fill in bare spots and thin areas with grass seeds developed to grow with your grass. Keep the seeds watered until they sprout. This will help to establish a lush lawn.
Step 9: Apply A Thin Layer Of Top Dressing
After you have completed Steps 1 through 8, apply a thin layer of premixed top dressing. You can wait until the grass is growing slowly, or you can apply a top dressing right after you have aerated your lawn. Either way will work, but most experts prefer to apply it when the grass is growing slowly.
Step 10: Plan Ahead
Remember that fall lawn care prepares your lawn for the long winter and for creating a full lush lawn In the spring. Fall is the time when the grass is absorbing moisture, energy and the nutrients needed for the long winter months. This is also the time when the lawn is preparing to create that beautiful lush green carpet.
Proper fall lawn care is an important step in maintaining a healthy lawn all year round. Just because summer ends doesn’t mean you can start neglecting your lawn.