Your lawn sees a lot of action each year, from foot traffic to heavy precipitation. Here’s how to make sure it has what it needs to survive winter and thrive in spring!
The air is becoming crisp, and trees are beginning to change color, meaning soon enough, your yard will be covered in a layer of snow. But that doesn’t mean you can completely forget about your lawn now! Fall lawn care is important to ensure your grass has everything it needs to survive winter and thrive in spring. Here are the best fall lawn care tips!
Fertilize Your Grass
Though your lawn isn’t visible during the winter, you still need to make sure it has all the nutrients it needs to survive the cold months before waking up in spring. Apply fertilizer in fall once the grass has stopped growing. If you apply it too early when the grass is still growing, the nutrients won’t go toward storage, like what we want, but instead will be put toward more growth.
Cut Grass Short
On the last mow of the season, cut your grass so that it’s only a couple inches high to prevent fungal growth and matting in the upcoming months. Prior to this, in the summer, you should keep your grass longer. This helps to shade out weeds and encourage the grass to root deeper.
Maintain Mower and Other Tools
Before packing up all your tools for the year, it’s a good idea to do some basic maintenance, like sharpening pruning shears and cleaning containers, so you have one less thing to worry about in the spring.
Your lawn mower requires maintenance, too. As fall starts to come to an end, take a good look at your grass after you cut it. If you notice the grass isn’t cleanly sliced and instead looks ragged, if the tips look brown soon after you cut it, or if the grass looks unevenly cut, it’s time to sharpen the blades on your mower.
Clean Up Leaves
Jumping into a pile of freshly raked leaves is the epitome of fall. Once you and your family rake them all up or form piles using a leaf blower, and after taking a few jumps before putting the leaves back into a pile, add the leaves to your garden. Leaf mulch fertilizes the soil, creates insulation for perennials, offers protection for helpful critters like worms, and acts as a weed barrier.
You can also keep some leaves on your lawn and go over them with your lawnmower. This will create a layer of organic mulch for the grass. Just make sure the layer isn’t more than an inch thick, since you want the soil to get the oxygen it needs.
While removing leaves can take a bit of effort, if you were to leave all the leaves on your lawn (which would be a pretty thick layer), could smother the grass and even provide habitats for pests and disease. Plus, if you rake the grass, this can break up thatch, the layer of dead grass that sits on the top layer of soil. Thatch can create a barrier between the roots of your grass and the resources they need to grow strong.
Target Compaction and Patches
Your lawn sees a lot of action each year, from foot traffic to heavy precipitation. This can lead to soil compaction, meaning oxygen has a harder time moving freely through the ground. This also means water and nutrients can’t quite as easily get to the roots of the grass. To reduce compaction and improve your lawn’s aeration, use plug or spike aerators.
If you notice any patches in your lawn, now is the time to overseed. Any empty spots can easily be overtaken with weeds, so it’s best to get grass seed in before that happens. After scattering seeds, water regularly as roots form.
There’s still plenty of time to enjoy outside, and following a fall checklist will help you make the most of your time! Stop by our garden center or get in touch if you have any other questions about fall lawn care in Bettendorf.