Fall Lawn Maintenance Tips: Fall lawn care is essential to having a healthy lawn come spring. We have put together a list of tips you should do before the snow falls.
Remove leaves: Regularly rake or mow your leaves. It is very important to remove the leaves from your lawn. Don’t wait until your trees are bare. If you do, the leaves will saturate and form an impenetrable mat that if left unmoved will suffocate the grass and breed fungal diseases.
If you have a large yard we would recommend using a lawnmower fitted with a bag or vacuum system. It doesn’t matter which method you use, just be sure to remove the leaves before they get soggy.
Mowing: Your mower should be set to 2 inches in the fall. Your lawn will be growing more slowly now and you only want to be taking off 1 inch of grass when mowing.
De-Thatch: Check for thatch by removing a plug of grass and soil. One-half inch of thatch or less is not a problem. If there is more than that, your lawn is ready for a thatch-management. Vigorously rake out the dead grass from your lawn with a spring-tined rake, or rent a motorized scarifier for larger lawns. This will improve the look and health of your grass.
Aerate: Aeration fights grass compaction from summers high volume traffic and will promote uptake of oxygen and nutrients. Aeration reduces thatch, improves drainage, and loosens soil. Aerate the soil by pushing a border fork into the soil, or use a hollow tiner, which pulls out plugs of soil at 4-inch intervals. This should be done every 2 years.
Fertilize: Cool-season grasses, such as bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass, respond well to feeding in early September and again in late fall (late October or November). A fall application of fertilizer gives your lawn the essential nutrients for the grass to grow deep roots now and to keep nutrients on reserve for a healthy start next spring.
Overseed: Fall is a great time to overseed your yard. Power seeding your lawn will increase your turf density. Overall it will improve the appearance and health of your yard. The best natural way to fight against insect and weed damage is a dense lawn.
Attack weeds: Fall is the best time to rid your yard of weeds, such as dandelions, clover, and other broadleaf weeds. Weeds, like most plants, are in the energy absorbing mode during the fall. They drink in everything that comes their way, including weed killers. Apply an herbicide now so that the weeds won’t return in the spring.
Most herbicide manufacturers recommend applying the weed killer during early-to-mid fall, when daytime temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Drain irrigation lines: Completely drain your lawn’s irrigation system before freezing weather arrives.
Prepare lawn mower for storage: If you prepare your lawn mower correctly in the fall it will be ready to go come next spring. Be sure to use up all the gas in the mower as part of your winterizing plan. The easiest way to do this is to simply run the engine dry in late fall. Change the air filter on your lawn mower at the end of the season. Empty the oil tank and refill after cleaning up your mower and sharpening the blades. Be sure to dispose of the old oil properly. Beneath the mower, clean the underside of the carriage as well as the blades. Use a hose to power wash off any dried mud and grass clippings. Some additional scraping may be necessary, especially on the underside.
*When it comes time to aerate or dethatch or seed your lawn check out your local rental center. We use All Season’s Rental in Western Wisconsin, they have everything we need to keep our yard looking amazing without having spend big bucks on items we only use once a year.