With the change of seasons comes to a change in your lawn care routine. Fall lawn care is crucial if you want to continue enjoying a beautiful green lawn next year.
Your lawn will slow in its growth as the weather gets colder. If you are a DIYer or you use a lawn care service, you need to make sure that the essential tasks get completed.
Here are tips to give you a thicker, greener lawn.
Know Your Grass Type
We can classify your lawn as either cool-season or warn-season turf types. Warm-season grasses will go dormant during the winter months while cool-season grasses are susceptible to high temperatures.
Warm-season species include Bermuda, Centipede, Buffalo, and Bahamas Grass. The warm-season grasses will quickly slow their growth during fall and enter a dormant phase during winter.
Cool-Season lawn includes ryegrass and bluegrass species. These cool-season grasses will thrive and grow during the spring and fall months and slow their growth over winter.
A rule of thumb is if you live in areas where it snows, you should plant cool-season grasses and warm-season where it does not snow.
Having the right type of grass for your local climate will help you keep your lawn looking great.
Mowing in Fall
During fall, your lawn will slow down in their growth as we move towards winter. However, it is still important to mow your lawn to keep it healthy.
My father always adjusts the height of his mower during the fall season. I feel this is unnecessary, and I keep my lawn mower height steady and mow my lawn usually until it stops growing just before the start of winter.
Keeping the grass clippings from your fall mowing will provide the rest of your garden with some great mulch.
Aerating the Soil
As the weather grows colder and wetter, the soil surface can become compacted. Lawn aeration will remove plugs of soil, which loosens and frees any compacted soil. This will allow more air and water to get to the grass roots.
To aerate your soil, you use a “core aerator” or just a pitchfork if you don’t want to hire a specialized machine.
Planting New Seed
Fall is the ideal time to plant new lawn seed. Many people will “overseed” their warm-season lawn with some Ryegrass for a green lawn during the winter months.
If you are planting a new lawn, then fall is a perfect time. The fall months will give your new lawn grass seed the best chance to form a healthy root system.
Addressing Problem Areas (Bald Spots)
During summer, my lawn gets a lot of traffic, and there are always some small bald spots that need attention. Seeding these areas with a lawn repair mixture during my fall lawn maintenance routine means that once spring comes, I will once again have a beautiful lawn.
Seeding these bare patches starts with preparing the soil by aerating and then spreading the seed. You will also want to do this where you have weak, thin grass.
A significant part of my fall lawn maintenance regime is weed control. Removing any lawn weeds will ensure that your grass will be able to form deeper roots. These deep roots will support the healthy lawn once it begins to grow again in the spring.
Fertilizing during the fall months should get done after you aerate your lawn, and you remove any fall weed. The correct type of fertilizer depends on your grass type and soil conditions. You should do a soil test to see what nutrients are required and then supply these nutrients with an organic fertilizer.
A proper fertilizer application on your existing turf grass will encourage grass growth once the weather conditions improve.
Fall is a great time to do some maintenance on your lawn equipment before you pack it up for the winter months.
I start by cleaning all the equipment to prevent lawn pests from being transferred to the warmer months. I also take this time to maintain my mower. Then I sharpen the blades, replace spark plugs and drain the fuel, so it is ready to go as soon as I need it in spring.
My Final Fall Lawn Care Task
The final task for me before winter is to clean up the lawn and surrounding areas. I use a hand rake to remove fallen leaves, and then the last weed check. If you have a large yard, you can use a leaf blower instead of a leaf rake for raking leaves.
Proper care during fall will ensure that your lawn makes it through the winter and will re-emerge in spring with a full grass coverage.