Fall lawn care is an important element of your overall lawn care schedule. It helps your lawn maintain it's health through the fall months (September through November). However, it has an even more important function that it serves. It prepares your lawn for the upcoming winter months. Winter can be long and tough on your lawn. Your fall lawn care regiment will help ensure your lawn perks up and greens up in the spring. It is a springboard to ensure you start out the following spring on a good foot, not with a lot of problems.
Below are the items that should be on every ones fall lawn care schedule.....
The fall lawn care schedule begins with continuing
as necessary. Each time you mow remove no more than 1/3 of the grass blade. Keep the grass on the longer side. You want to make sure the grass is insulated from the upcoming winter weather if you live in a part of the country with long cold winters and snow.
Use the line trimmer after each time you cut the grass. Make sure you edge along the sidewalks and driveway one last time before the winter.
Reseed bare patches of lawn and overseed the grass for the winter. Reseeding/overseeding helps thicken the grass so that
lawn weeds, harmful lawn insects
do not invade your lawn. Early fall, before September 15th in most areas, is the best time to reseed/overseed. If you don't get around to it before mid-September wait until early Spring (after April 15th) in most areas.
Dethatch your lawn if the thatch layer is more than ½ of an inch thick. If the thatch layer is too thick the nutrients and water won't be able to get down into the soil and reach the root system. Power raking your lawn every other year in either the spring or fall will help eliminate any potential thatch problems.
Feed your lawn.
Apply a winterizer fertilizer. It gets your lawn really healthy just before winter so in the spring it greens up faster. I recommend using a rotary spreader. All products are different and all settings on the spreader are different. I can not stress this enough. Always read the directions and/or labels for your lawn care equipment before you use it and on chemicals before you apply them.
Mid-November is a great time to apply your weed control. It is a double whammy to apply weed control and then winter comes. The weeds will naturally die over the winter, but the roots of the weeds won't die. The roots of the weeds will lie dormant over the winter like the grass. The weed control will systematically attack and kill the root system of the weeds.
Do a fall clean-up when the leaves have fallen. If you skip this step, your lawn will not be able to reap the benefits of the nutrients from feeding the lawn and the water which will then cause disease, insect and weed problems.
Tip: This is a great way to feed your lawn organically. When the leaves just start falling and there are not enough leaves to do a full fall clean-up turn the leaves into mulch. Most modern lawn mowers have a mulching sytem. It is beneficial to mulch the leaves instead of using a rake to gather them. It is nutritious for the soil to have the mulch breakdown into it. Also, you are potentially saving money. Who doesn't want to keep their money in their pocket.
Look for signs of harmful lawn insects and disease in your lawn. Treat your lawn as necessary. If you have already applied a winterizer fertilizer you don't want to apply another chemical to your lawn before the winter. You can add treating the problem to your list for the spring.
If you have pine trees in your yard, get all of the pine tree needles off of the grass. The pine tree needles are high in acid and this will mess with the soil's ph level. I have several large pine trees in my yard. I typically use a rake to gather all the needles that drop to the ground.
Prepare your lawn care equipment for winter storage. Empty all of the gas from your tractor/lawn mower or you can use an additive to the gas right in the machine so you don't have to empty the gas tank before storing it for the winter. Also, you want to make sure you clean-up the equipment before you store it for the winter. Make sure you clean under the deck of the mower. If you wait until the spring to clean it, the grass and other debris will harden up and make it very difficult to clean the machine. You also want to check for cracks on the deck of the mower if your mower is older. If there are cracks and they aren't too extreme, there are products you can buy to fill in the cracks in the metal. Finally, the last few times you mow the lawn for the season look for potential problems with the mower. For instance, if the mower is hard to start you may need spark plugs. If the grass is ripping instead of cutting evenly, you may need to replace the mower blade. Also, check the wheels of the mower to see if the wheel is losing tread or plastic. If they are the wheels of the mower may need to be replaced. You should start making a list in the fall because a lot of times in late November there are close out sales where you can save money purchasing items you will need in the spring. If you are like me, I like to save money whenever possible so I look for these sales.
Keeping a fall lawn care schedule is important. Taking these additional fall lawn care steps will help ensure you have a smoother transition into the spring. Keeping your lawn healthy is of the utmost importance in creating the lawn you are proud of and lawn you desire.
Ormond Beach, Florida home with St. Augustine Grass.
Schaumburg, Illinois home with a mixture of Kentucky Bluegrass, Rye and Fescue grasses.
Coralville, Iowa home with a mixture of Kentucky Bluegrass, Rye and Fescue grasses. Grass is already beginning to go dormant in mid-June due to the lack of rain and early Spring/Summer.
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