A great lawn requires great lawn maintenance three out of the four seasons; however, providing the right lawn care does not have to be exhausting in the fall.
With these fall lawn care tips, a homeowner can reap the benefits of a great looking lawn through cooler weather, and have a healthier lawn come spring.
Fall care helps prepare the grass for winter, so they are ready to bounce back once those first days of spring’s warmer weather return.
Fall Mowing and Lawn Growth
As the days get shorter, grass slow down its growth pattern. It is necessary to continue mowing, as this is an ongoing part of lawn maintenance to promote best grass health.
Mow when grass blades are one-third taller than their ideal length, just as in the summer, although the time frame between mowing will likely be longer.
Fall Pre-Emergent Weed Control
Fall is one of the most important times to apply a pre-emergent weed killer, an application that is unfortunately overlooked by many homeowners. There are cool weather weeds, just like there are cool weather grasses.
Stopping these weeds before they start is an essential part of good weed control. Late season pre-emergent control with a product like corn gluten meal, or another pre-emergent preparation, prevent fall and winter weeds from sprouting as well as help prevent spring weeds.
Late Season Fertilization
Feeding before the first freeze is important to allow roots to take in extra nutrition before wintering. Be sure to use a winter fertilizer, as these formulas are made to promote root growth rather than blade growth.
They also revitalize the soil to be a healthier environment for wintering grass roots. An application of winter fertilizer helps prevent disease and die-off during the winter months, keeping plants well nourished in their dormant state so they are ready to grow once the soil warms up again.
Overseeding and Reseeding
Depending on the type of grass, late summer and early fall is the best time to seed. This is the time to reseed cool-season grasses or start new lawns so the plants are growing and well-rooted by winter.
For lawns with warm-season grasses, over-seed with cool season species to help them grow thicker and remain green longer into the fall.
General Fall Clean Up
Some lawns may have thatch buildup by the end of summer. Fall is the best time to remove that thatch before any re-seeding or applying fertilizer or weed killers. Any leaves on the ground should either be mulched or raked and removed to prevent lawn damage.
Lawn mowing should continue until there is no more growth for the season. Watering should continue as necessary, to keep the soil moist throughout the winter. Periodically check grass for damage and disease. With the good preparation above, fall lawns are able to winter safely.
Although cooler weather may indicate it’s time to pack the lawn mowing and other lawn care equipment away, there is still work to be done to ensure less work next spring.
Fall lawn maintenance is well worth the effort, as it helps create a healthier, stronger, more weed-resistant lawn. Thinking ahead allows a homeowner more time to actually enjoy their lawn, with fewer problems to deal with overall!