Now that fall has arrived, take advantage of the cooler temperatures to care for your grass ahead of winter. After a long hot summer, your lawn probably needs some TLC. Here are five tips for fall lawn maintenance to help you get your yard in shape for the cooler months.
Aerate Your Lawn
Aeration involves making small holes in the soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass. Aerating the lawn is especially important if your lawn’s soil has become compacted from heavy foot traffic. You can aerate your yard with a hand tool or hire a professional to do it for you.
Fall Lawn Maintenance: Re-seed Bare Patches
Throughout the summer, your lawn may have developed dying or bare patches. These areas are susceptible to weed growth and often will not recover on their own. To fix these spots, rake the dead grass and loosen the soil beneath. Next, spread grass seeds over the area before watering it thoroughly. Keep the site fertilized and mowed until the new grass becomes established.
If you’re planning to re-seed the lawn, do so approximately six weeks before the first frost. The new grass will need time to establish roots before freezing temperatures arrive.
Fertilize the Grass
Fall is a great time to fertilize the grass because cool temperatures encourage strong root growth. A well-nourished lawn will better withstand winter weather and bounce back quickly when the temperatures warm in spring. Look for a fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
Continue to Mow as Part of Fall Lawn Maintenance
The grass grows more slowly as the weather cools, but keeping it mowed to approximately 2.5 – 3 inches tall is essential. Grass that is too short will struggle to get the nutrients it needs before winter. Tall grass blocks sunlight and rain from reaching the soil and may lead to mold or fungus in the lawn.
Remove Leaves and Debris
Fallen leaves can smother grass and provide a hiding place for pests like voles and insects over winter. Rake and remove leaves regularly throughout fall to boost curb appeal and keep the grass healthier. Instead of removing leaves completely, use a mulching mower to chop leaves into tiny pieces that will decompose quickly and add nutrients to the soil.
Following these simple tips gives your lawn what it needs to survive winter and come back healthy and strong in springtime.