Most people don’t realize that to have a really great lawn, the secret isn’t in piling on extra fertilizer and watering as soon as the snow melts in spring. The secret to a great lawn lies in fall lawn maintenance. That’s right gardeners, the ugly word… maintenance. The fact is that letting an unhealthy lawn lie over the winter is not going to make all those problems go away, and can actually make them worse. Using just a few fall lawn tricks, your can have a yard wake up in spring to the green backdrop of a gorgeous killer lawn! So do you want a killer lawn? Then do this!
Kill Those Weeds
Been ignoring a dandelion problem? Hoping the crabgrass will “die off in the winter”? Nope, doesn’t work that way. Take care of your lawn weed problems now or it will be much worse in the spring, as the weeds spend all fall absorbing energy, ready to attack with the first rays of spring sunshine. Use a liquid weed killer meant for lawns.
You can rent an aerator or, if you have a small lawn, use aerating sandals to penetrate the hardened summer ground. This allows the roots to access oxygen and water more easily, allowing for a stronger root system. This will jump start your lawn growth in spring.
Most experts agree that fall is the most important time to fertilize. Mid to late fall, use a dry fertilizer over the entire lawn to encourage root growth. Winterizer fertilizer is the best choice, especially in cold winter areas.
Overseed Thin Spots
If you have a few areas that have gotten thin or have died off from underwatering, now is the time to overseed and get the lawn ready to be in full growth in spring. Buy a lawn patch product at the nursery or home improvement store. These are blends that already have mulch included. Rake the thin spot well, then lightly broadcast the seed and water well. Try to keep it watered daily until the fall rains take over.
Adjust your mower height to mow lower than you did in summer. The idea is to gradually expose the base of the grass and allow more sunlight to reach it, preventing brown and mushy grass under snow and rain. Don’t cut it too short though, never less than 2 inches for most grasses.
Don’t stop watering your lawn until the fall rains have really taken over. Don’t water in the evenings in the fall, the cooler nights allow for fungus to grow.
Rake Those Leaves!
I don’t blame you if that’s the last thing you want to hear…but here is the truth…if you leave those leaves on your lawn to compact all winter, you will find that your lawn has been destroyed in spring. Seriously, gotta do this.
Blow out your Irrigation System
If you have any kind of sprinkler or irrigation system, you are going to want to drain that system before the ground freezes. Most areas have services that will come to your home and use a truck mounted air compressor to blow out your systems for about $25 to $35. If you want to try it yourself, here is a great tutorial on fall sprinkler maintenance.
That’s it! Just because the grass starts growing more slowly above the ground in fall, doesn’t mean it grows slowly below the ground. And if you ignore that fact, your lawn will suffer from a poor root system in spring, resulting in a weak lawn prone to disease and weed growth. Just follow these fall lawn care steps to a killer spring lawn!
Looking for more ways to improve your yard? Check out these beautiful & classic lawn edging ideas!Image Credits: Lawn Care Directory, Qturf, Grateful Grass Lawncare, Hermes Landscaping, HGTV, BHG, Greenview Fertilizer