Homeowner's

A Homeowner’s Guide to Preparing Your Lawn for Fall

Beautiful green lawns take a lot of hard work and planning from season to season. If you are embarrassed when neighbors drive by your yard and see only weeds and a few sprigs of grass. Apply a few of the following tips, and by spring, incredible growth will happen.

If the time has come to upgrade your lawn, the first few seasons will take the most work. Winter is the dormant season. Summer months heading into fall is an excellent time for preparation of next spring’s planting season.

Fall and spring are the two most important times of the year to guarantee a year-round, lush green yard.

  • Get rid of the leaves; peering out the window and seeing beautiful fall colors lying on the yard is a sight to behold. The problem with leftover leaves, they block the precious light and moisture your grass must-have. Rake away and blow off as often as possible, even when trees are bare.
  • Fall watering is a critical component of a lush green lawn. Do not stop watering when the temperature drops. Let up when growth slows. Do not over-water either; a fungal disease can set in, and that is a big problem. Pay close attention to your lawn and the weather, make sure roots stay well hydrated. Flush and drain the sprinkler system in late October, so water lines do not freeze and burst.
  • Aerate and loosen up the soil. No other fall regimen is as vital as aerating your lawn every couple of years. Soil becomes compacted over time; thatch builds, causing water to become trapped without getting to the soil. Heavy thatch blocks the much-needed oxygen and nutrients fall grass needs.

Core aerators can be manual or motorized. Machines punch holes in the soil, pulling up plugs. Aerate right before a fall fertilizer application.

If your family just moved into the home, you may need to aerate the first couple of years. After that, once every two to three years should do the trick.

In the fall months as temperatures cool, start dropping the mower height. If you are in a four-season climate, grass slows in the winter months and stops completely from December into spring. Start dropping the height at one-inch intervals until the grass has stopped growing altogether.

Warm weather grasses slow down at first signs of cold weather and stop entirely in early fall. Depending on thatch buildup, low-cut or scrape the lawn at least once during the winter months.

  • Choosing the right fall fertilizer is critical for that lush green lawn in the spring. Agriculture technology has led to an explosion of different types and strengths of fertilizers. Most are precision-based, designed for a particular grass.

September is usually the best month for fertilizing. Grass needs a good nitrogen shot in the arm after hot summer months. Pay close attention to the three-digit rating on the outside of the bag; each number represents nutrient levels.

  • Fall overseeding is a critical step to a healthy lawn and the best time of the year to repair a thin or bare spotted yard. Putting out seed too soon, and it will not germinate properly. Too late and in some climates, the seed freezes.

Usually, 45 days before the first frost is an ideal time to overseed. Grass seed thrives in cool moisture-rich days, without the extreme heat of summer—some homeowners overseed in the spring, which is fine until summer temperatures turn hot.

The ideal times to put out fall seed are right after aerating and fall fertilizing. Also, fall overseeding keeps your lawn from growing old. Fresh fall seed keeps your lawn on a vigorous growth schedule, so it is not continually competing with weeds and other stresses for vital nutrients.

Follow the steps above, use quality grass seed and fertilizer. Pay close attention to the weather when watering and cutting. After a few seasons, you will be the envy of your neighbors.

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