Just because it’s cooling down doesn't mean it's time to pack up the lawn equipment. Quite the opposite in fact! Fall means it’s time to prep your lawn for winter to ensure happy healthy grass come spring. This is a critical time for the health of your lawn, if you look forward to walking around barefoot in the lush grass of spring you need to tend to that grass now. Here are some things you should do this fall to ensure your grass is greener on the other side of winter.
We are all eager to put the mower away for the winter but don't get too eager. Your grass will continue to grow until the first frost. Letting it get too long before winter is a good way to set yourself up for sad grass come spring. Optimal grass height for the cooler months is about 2&½ inches. Too long and you risk fungi growth, like snow mold, appearing at the end of winter. Too short and you inhibit root growth. So keep that mower running at the correct height until Jack Frost makes his first visit. When it's time to pack it in don't forget to winterize your mower to ensure that it’s ready to go come spring.
Weed, Overseed, and Fertilize
Milder temperatures mean less heat stress and less weeds making early fall a great time to lay down some grass seed. Lay grass seed no later than 6 weeks before your area usually gets its first frost. After mowing and aerating is best the best time to overseed and fertilize your lawn. Overseeding is the process of applying new grass seed directly on top of existing turf. When you mow your grass regularly the grass doesn't grow high enough to seed and propagate itself so it’s important to spread seed on your lawn to introduce new strains of grass and keep your lawn from thinning out. Whether you spread seed or not you should also fertilize your lawn at the beginning of the fall season. To get itself ready for winter your grass needs a healthy dose of nitrogen and potassium. Nitrogen is integral for chlorophyll production and potassium will aid root strength, disease protection, drought tolerance, and cold resistance. Doing a soil test will tell you exactly what your lawn needs.
If you loathe the idea of bags upon bags of leaves try putting those leaves to good use. Fallen leaves make a great foundation for mulch and compost to feed your lawn and garden next year!
Written and Researched By: Victoria Buckwash