Fall is usually the time of year when homeowners start to prepare their lawns and gardens for winter. It can be a busy month for gardeners, as harvests may still be coming in and many additional home maintenance tasks take up precious weekend time.
If you have a grass lawn you also know that there are many tasks that should be done to prepare the lawn for a cooler winter. Follow these tips for successful fall lawn care and maintenance.
1. Rake the leaves
If your seasonal fall brings a lot of fallen leaves, use them to your advantage.
Depending upon how many leaves you get you may simply want to rake them up and put them in a yard waste bin. Or you may want to add them to your compost pile or work them into the soil of your yard for added nutrients.
If you have a lawn mower you can run over the leaves on your lawn, creating tiny leave pieces that can easily be left on the lawn itself as an organic fertilizer.
Just make sure you don’t leave wet, soggy piles of whole leaves on the lawn as it can suffocate growth and contribute to an unhealthy lawn.
Regularly removing the leaves as they fall is the best way to stay on top of this annual task.
2. Decrease watering
Depending on fall weather, you may need to continue to water your lawn.
Cool season grasses are still growing in the fall and they may not actually need additional irrigation.
3. Aerate and overseed
Cool season lawns should be aerated and overseeded in the fall.
Some experts recommend doing this the same weekend each year, such as Labor Day weekend, as September is an ideal month for this task.
A core aerator removes small “plugs” of grass and soil and helps lawns receive more oxygen, sunlight, seed and fertilization.
After aerating a cool season lawn it’s a great time to overseed the area and add the fall fertilization.
4. Fertilize and feed
Fall is a great month to fertilize a cool season lawn.
Cool season grasses use the fall months to recover from the heat and growth of the summer and may need a good dose of nitrogen.
The exact fertilization requirements should be determined by conducting a soil test to see what nutrients the soil is lacking.
Making sure your lawn has what it needs to stay healthy (and keep weeds at bay) is very important, especially if you desire a nice green lawn next spring and summer.
5. Mow and edge
Cool season grasses are still growing in the fall months but probably won’t require as much mowing or edging as the summer months.
Your cool season lawn may just need mowing once every couple of weeks; never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade height.
6. Weed and control pests
Cool season grass usually doesn’t require traditional weed or pest control in the fall months.
However, cool season grasses are sometimes susceptible to moss and fall may be a good time of year to apply moss killer.