The heat of the summer leaves some lawns in need of extra care. Caring for the lawn in autumn will provide the grass with the nutrients it needs to survive winter and thrive in the spring. Here are a few helpful tips for fall lawn maintenance.
It is tempting to let fallen leaves sit on the lawn instead of raking them, but this could cause issues with the grass. Leaves block sunlight and prevent nutrients from reaching the soil and grass roots.
The damp, warm environment underneath the leaves also encourages the growth of mold and lawn diseases, plus it attracts pests. If you don’t want to rake the leaves, use your lawnmower to mulch them, so they decompose quickly.
Continue Mowing the Lawn
Fall lawn care still includes continuing to mow the lawn. Grass will keep growing until your area has the first hard frost. Trim the grass blades to between 2.5 and 3 inches. Letting grass grow too long before winter might lead to snow mold later. Cutting the blades below 2.5 inches makes the grass more vulnerable to dry, cold weather.
Aerate During Fall Lawn Maintenance
September and early October are the best times for aeration. Use an aerator to remove small plugs of soil from the lawn. Your grass roots will have more access to sunlight, water, air, and nutrients.
For the best results, aerate the lawn before applying fertilizer or adding additional grass seed. The holes in the yard allow fertilizer to be absorbed easily by the roots.
Overseed the Lawn
Overseeding often goes hand in hand with aeration during fall lawn maintenance. Apply grass seed to your existing lawn, focusing on bare spots or areas of slow growth. Overseeding helps fill in places in the yard that thinned out over the summer and prevents weed growth next year, and is a critical step in fall lawn maintenance for those who want green, thick, and lush lawns in the spring.
Water as Part of Your Fall Lawn Maintenance
Most homeowners know to water the lawn during the hottest days of the year. However, don’t stop watering when temperatures start to cool in the fall. Especially if you are overseeding or aerating your lawn as part of your fall lawn maintenance, make sure the grass receives at least one inch of water each week. Enough water allows fertilizer to take effect and grass seed to become established before the first frost occurs.