Caring for your yard is more than mowing when the grass gets high. Some jobs must be done a season or two ahead to see the results you want for a specific season. Fall is a time several things should be done to prepare for a great spring and summer lawn.
If you receive regular yard maintenance from a professional, most of these things are probably already being done. Make sure to double-check with your service company to see if these items are included in your package.
One last mow. As the temperatures begin to drop, most grasses go dormant. Some species of grass stay green in dormancy while others turn brown. It’s important to get in one final mow after the temps have dropped and got the grass cut short. Leaving grass tall during winter can lead to snow mold growing (if you live in an area that gets snow) and can also smother new grass coming up in the spring.
Rake. Fall comes with lots of leaves on the ground. It’s important to get these up as quickly as possible. Once leaves get wet, they are much harder to rake up. Leaving wet leaves on the ground also lends itself to growing molds that can cause allergies. Leaves that get covered in snow for a long winter season can be a mess in spring. This is another hindrance that can prevent new grass coming up in the spring.
Fertilize. Ideally, you want to fertilize your yard multiple times per year. However, if you have a tight schedule and are short on time, fall is the one time of year you need to make sure you do it. Fertilizing in the fall before the colder temperatures move in, gives the grass time to absorb the necessary nutrients from the fertilizer. Grasses can store this food for the winter while the roots multiply during dormancy. In the spring the fertilized grass will have a head start and healthy boost for spring growth.
Reseed. Summer is when we notice where parts of the yard are wearing thin or bald patches are emerging. However, reseeding in summer is really a waste of time. The heat and lack of rain during summer are not conducive to the growth of grass seeds. Most seeds will not survive these conditions. Fall brings cooler, damper weather that grass seed thrives in. While you may not see the rewards of your work for a couple of seasons, you’ll be happy to see how much more full your lawn will be the following spring.
Aerate. Much like fertilization, a yard greatly benefits from aeration multiple times a year. However, if you can only do it once, fall is the time year to do it. Aerating is creating holes in the ground by removing plugs of soil. This helps counteract the natural compacting of the soil. The holes help with air, water, fertilizer, and seed being able to get down into the soil creating a healthier growing environment.
Fall is an optimal season to have a positive impact on your lawn. If you aren’t able to get these done yourself and love a lush lawn in spring, it’s definitely worth talking to a professional about plans they can offer.