Fall is here, and with it comes thoughts of cooler weather, hoodies, and warm drinks. As your thoughts turn away from summer fun, you may, like so many homeowners, forget about lawn care, but this is a mistake. Fall is actually an excellent time to give your grass a little TLC so it will grow thicker and healthier in the coming year. If you are looking ahead and want to invest in your grass this season, these fall lawn care tips from Senske can help.
When to Start Fall Lawn Care
The right time to start fall lawn care depends on the type of grass you have and the temperature this particular season. In most cases, fall lawn care starts in the early autumn, when temperatures are still warm but grass has started growing more slowly. If you have a warm-season grass, start your fall lawn care when the temperatures are high. If you have a cool-season grass, start when the temperatures start to go down. Then continue your lawn care routine until winter sets in.
Fall Lawn Maintenance – Mowing and Raking
Mowing is an important part of your fall lawn care. While you may not need to mow as often, you will still need to pull out the mower from time to time in the fall. In late autumn, consider dropping the mower down so you can cut the turf about one to two inches shorter than you do during the growing season. Keep cutting it lower until you notice that it has stopped growing in the winter. This will allow more sunlight to reach the crown so there will be less browning in the winter.
Also, make sure you keep the grass well raked. Leaves that are allowed to remain on your grass for a long time can create a mat over your grass that prevents water and sun from reaching the grass. This will kill the grass. Also, as the leaves become wet and start to rot, they can create the perfect breeding ground for fungal diseases. Keep your rake handy and rake up those fallen leaves regularly to keep your yard healthy.
Fall Lawn Maintenance – Aerating and Over-seeding
Now is a great time to aerate your turf. Over time, thatch, a layer of roots, stems, and debris, will cover the surface of your soil. Thatch compaction prevents nutrients and water from reaching the soil and the roots of the grass. Aeration uses a tool called a core aerator to punch holes in that thatch and pull up small plugs of soil. This helps loosen the thatch so the lawn can grow well in the summer months. Consider aerating your lawn in the fall before you apply any fertilizers.
Over-seeding is also beneficial in the fall. Over-seeding means spreading seed over your existing lawn. This will help fill in any thin spots or bare patches that have developed and also allow you to introduce a new variety of lawn to your existing turf. Because the ground is warm and plenty of rain is falling, but the sun is not quite as hot as in the summer, fall is the best time for this step.
Fall Lawn Maintenance – Fertilizing and Weed Control
Finally, prepare your lawn for excellent spring and summer growth by fertilizing in the fall. A late-fall application of a slow release fertilizer will feed the lawn throughout the winter, helping roots to grow deeper and giving the lawn more ability to resist disease, cold and drought. Start with a standard fertilizer in early autumn, then switch to one that has a high potassium content towards the end of the season. Potassium helps keep the lawn greener through cold weather and also helps the lawn absorb other nutrients, like nitrogen more effectively.
Fall fertilizing gives you the chance to practice some weed control measures as well. If you place some weed control in your fall fertilizer application before the winter dormancy sets in, you will have a beautiful, weed-free yard in the summer. Why is fall such a good season for this? In the fall, weeds need to pull more nutrients from the soil, rather than the sun. This means they will soak in the herbicide more quickly in the fall, making it more effective. Talk to the experts at Senske to see which types of weeds you need to fight in your lawn, but most lawns in the region need help fighting broadleaf weeds.
Get More Fall Lawn Care Tips from Senske
Do you need more help with your fall lawn care, or are you looking to partner with a professional for these important jobs? Give Senske a call today to discuss these and other fall lawn care tips with a knowledgeable professional.