Prepare Your Lawn For Fall
Many homeowners think lawns need less care in the fall because the grass grows more slowly. In fact, just the opposite is true. During this time of year, the grass is busily absorbing energy, moisture, and nutrients in preparation for a long, dormant winter. Give it a little attention now, and you’ll be rewarded with a lush, healthy spring lawn. Just follow these four tips.
Keep on Mowing
Continue to water and mow your lawn, as needed, throughout the fall. Then as the season draws to a close, drop the mower’s blade to its lowest setting for the last two cuttings of the year. That will allow more sunlight to reach the crown of the grass, and there will be less leaf to turn brown during the winter.
*Note: As you lower the blade, just remember not to trim off more than one-third of the grass blades at any one time. If necessary, gradually lower the cutting height until the time of the final two cuttings.
Aerate the Soil
Fall is also an ideal time to aerate your lawn so that oxygen, water, and fertilizer can easily reach the grass’s roots. You can rent a gas-powered, walk-behind lawn aerator or hire a landscaping contractor.
Rake the Leaves
I know raking leaves is no one’s idea of fun, but it’s important to remove fallen leaves from your lawn as soon as possible. Don’t wait until all the leaves have fallen from the trees to start raking. If you do, the leaves will become wet from rain and morning dew, stick together, and form an impenetrable mat that if left unmoved will suffocate the grass and breed fungal diseases.
Fertilize for Future Growth
Most lawn experts agree: If you fertilize your lawn only once a year, do it in the fall. The reason? Grass leaves grow much more slowly as the weather turns cool, but the grassroots and rhizomes continue to grow quickly. (Rhizomes are the horizontal plant stems that lie just beneath the soil’s surface; they produce the blades of grass above and the roots below.) A fall application of fertilizer delivers essential nutrients for the grass to grow deep roots now and to keep nutrients on reserve for a healthy start next spring.
Wait until mid-to-late fall, then apply a dry lawn fertilizer to all grassy areas; be careful not to miss any spots.
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