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Not many homeowners are aware of the importance of the fall lawn care. However, it’s been noticed that there is an important autumn routine folks with a lush front yard follow to the T. In fact, it’s highly possible their secret is exactly this fall maintenance, and we’re ready to share it with you.
Keep on Mowing
Don’t get tricked by the subtitle: you’re supposed to continue mowing the grass, not to stop. You may not know, but the grass continues its growth in fall and it only stops when the first frost happens. Shorter blades receive more light and it’s also good to gradually lower the cut. Remember that the cut grass can’t exceed a third of the total length of the blades.
Of course, there are a few other aspects you can’t ignore when it comes to mowing. They relate to the type of lawn you have as well as your latitude, as different species of grass have slightly different cutting needs. What’s more is that you’ll care for the same type of lawn differently higher to the North than you would lower in the South.
If you want to make sure you’re doing the right thing, ask your local gardening center about further tips on this subject. It’s generally recommended to cut between 1 and 2 inches shorter than you normally do. The last 2 cuts should be as short as you possibly can. The reason is that you’ll have less grass going brown in winter.
Aerating Your Lawn
Not everyone is aware of the yard care needed in autumn. In fact the needs of the grass as well as other plants, increase at this time of the year, and aerating the soil on your lawn will help their roots better absorb water, nutrients and oxygen. If you didn’t aerate the lawn every other year, consider a core aerator as it will pull plugs of dirt, allowing for the best results later on.
Since there are several steps to follow for the lawn you hope, you’ll want to get a lawn aerator that will cover a larger area at once. And if you think you’d be spending money on a tool you’ll use rarely, a contractor can do the job for you, especially on a large area.
Raking the Leaves
Removing the leaves off your lawn is a really important action to perform, so don’t ignore it, as you’ll have to do it anyways in spring. Remember it’s easier to rake them when they’re dry, and as soon as they fall. While you might not be able to collect them every day, you also shouldn’t wait until the trees became bare as the rain and dew can make the process more difficult.
If this isn’t reason enough to have the dead leaves collected, consider that they can actually suffocate your grass. In spring, the grass will be dead instead. Additionally, there’s an increased risk of various disease and fungi to appear, spread and simply kill all the grass.
There are several ways to remove those dead leaves. Usually a rake is good enough for a really small to a medium sized area. The bigger it gets, the more you should consider some machinery that would get you less tires and would help you finish faster.
Some people choose to use fall lawn fertilizer twice at this time of the year. If you also want to do this, make sure to wait at least 6 weeks until your next round.
Though the best time to do it, according to some, is in mid to late fall, and this eliminates the possibility of using nutrients in two different sessions.
In order to survive the winter, most plants need energy that usually comes from nutrients. In autumn, there aren’t many nutrients to be found naturally, and even less so during winter. It’s best to fertilize your lawn at least once before the soil freezes, to help the plants out. These nutrients also have the role of protecting the roots from the frost.
You’ll rarely hear specialists recommending a different season for using fertilizer. They also recommend spreading it in a thick layer and to make as sure as possible as not to miss any spots. The dry type of fertilizer seems to be top choice for many homeowners, and a hand-held spreader with a crank seems to be the preferred tool for the purpose.
If you only fertilize once, try and use a slow release type of product. For the best results, apply these nutrients after you aerate the land, to ensure they go as close as possible to the roots. Before you rush to buy and use fertilizer, make sure to test the land to see which substances it lacks most.
Sometimes, the lawn can get some bald patches that don’t look pretty at all. There are several reasons for these spots to appear, but they’re easy to fix with a simple lawn treatment. What’s more is that fall is the perfect time to do so. This is done with a special solution that is usually sold at specialized garden stores. The solution contains both seeds and fertilizer along with some mulch.
Make sure to rake the bald spots before using the solution. This way, the treatment will better reach the soil where the seeds must get. Don’t forget to also use plenty of water after you used the compound. The recommended time to water is every other day for 2 weeks in a row.
Perhaps your lawn doesn’t have bald patches, but the grass itself didn’t grow as dense as you hoped for. If this situation sounds more like your reality, take advantage of fall and over seed the yard! In some cases, overseeding can help with patches that are not completely bald, but the grass is not as thick.
As you can tell from this presentation, this is the ideal time to work hard for a green and lush front lawn, because all the conditions are ideal for germination. You can use the same type of grass during this process, or you can use grass that is more resistant to various elements and conditions.
You’ll want to make sure to use as much seed as you can, and you can easily use some machines to complete the process faster. You’ll hear some specialists suggesting to inject the seeds in the soil, rather than spreading them on the surface.
Maybe the idea sounds like too much work for you, and if you aerated the land, you might not even need to inject the seeds, as they will surely fall in the little holes left by the removed plugs.
Rake and Water
Don’t think that the fall weed and feed work is over yet, there are still other things to do or keep in mind. Just like you need to rake as often as you can, and to continue mowing the grass, you’ll also have to continue watering your lawn. There are many people who think that in autumn there’s more water thanks to the dew forming or the rain, but most plants require at least 1 inch of water per week. We all know that this doesn’t always happen naturally, and this results in us having to help out.
Be wary though, as in October you can stop watering the lawn. Furthermore, you should empty the pipes and hoses of the irrigation system as not to have the left over water freezing in winter, and damaging the system.
Some lawns are taken over by weeds. However, autumn is here, and this is the perfect time of the year to destroy them. Weeds are also plants, and they too want to survive the winter, and they will also take in the fertilizer and the water you use for the grass.
To get rid of the weeds, you should use a weed killer. The trick is that most herbicides must be used in early to mid fall. This is because the herbicides work best when the temperatures are still over 60F, or over 15C, on a regular basis.
These are possibly the most important tips on winter lawn care, that you should know. You’ll have to pay attention when certain actions must be performed and for how long, for the best results. Additionally, some of these tricks would have to be adjusted for your location in relation to North and South, as well as the climate there.
Failing to follow the instructions and the adjustments can lead to the opposite result, which is a lawn overtaken by weeds, dead grass, on top of wasted time, effort and money. For instance, aerating in spring will allow the weeds to grow more, so you definitely don’t want this happening. Seeding too late means the germination process won’t be completed and the rhizomes could die instead.