Fall is here in a big way! It’s been days since we have seen the sun and the temperatures have dropped like an anvil. However, I am sure we will still have some nice days before the snow starts to fall, after all we still have a lot of leaves to pick up.
Anyways, if your already looking forward to spring, here are some fall lawn care tips you can do now to have a healthier lawn next spring.
Mow often, removing no more than one third the total height. Leave these short clippings on the lawn. They will quickly break down, adding organic matter, moisture and nutrients to the soil.
And as you mow you can take care of all those fall leaves at the same time. Shred the fall leaves and allow them to remain on the lawn. As long as you can see the leaf blades through the shredded leaves your lawn will be fine. And just like the clippings, they add nutrients and organic matter to the soil.
Fertilize your lawn with a low nitrogen, slow release fertilizer. University research has shown that fall fertilization is the most beneficial practice for home lawns. Less disease problems and slower weed growth means your lawns – not the weeds and pests – benefit from the nutrients. Fall fertilization also helps lawns recover from the stresses of summer because it encourages deep roots and denser growth that can better compete with weeds and tolerate disease and insects.
Weeds often gain a foothold in the lawn during the stressful summer months. A healthy lawn is the best defense. Even with proper care weeds can bully their way into the lawn. Try digging, root and all, to remove small populations of weeds. Weeding can be a great tension reducer and physical workout.
If this isn’t possible, consider spot treating weeds or problem areas with a broadleaf weedkiller. Whether using traditional or environmentally-friendly products read and follow label directions carefully. All these products are plant killers and can cause damage to other plants if not applied properly.
Fall, when the lawn is actively growing, is the best time to core aerate or dethatch lawns suffering from thatch build up or compacted soil. Thatch is a layer of partially decomposed dead grass plants that prevents water and nutrients from reaching the grass roots. Use a dethatching machine to remove thatch layers greater than one half an inch. Or core aerate the lawn to create openings in the thatch layer and help reduce soil compaction to encourage root growth and allow water and nutrients to infiltrate the soil.
Overseeding your lawn in the fall helps increase thickness and improves the overall health and appearance of the lawn. For best results, overseed directly after aerating.
Begin implementing some of these strategies and soon you’ll be on your way to a healthier, better looking lawn for the coming growing season.