Fall is a time when many homeowners stop thinking about their lawns, but this is not a good idea. Fall is actually a great time to start preparing your lawn for the coming dormant period and then the next growing season. With a little bit of attention to your lawn now, you can prepare it to winter well, and know that it will be ready to grow well when the spring and summer growing season hits. Here’s a closer look at the fall lawn care tasks that you should focus on.
**Why Fall Lawn Care?**
You may be thinking that there’s no need to attend to your lawn in the fall, because it’s not in a growing cycle. This could be a very dangerous mistake to make. Fall lawn care will actually help your lawn grow healthier and thicker in the coming year, and some types of lawn actually grow better in the cool seasons than the warm seasons.
Fall is also a season when damage can be done to your lawn that’s difficult for it to come back from. For example, if you don’t rake the dead grass clippings and leaves from your lawn during this season, they can actually kill the grass, leaving you with dead spots in the spring.
Finally, fall lawn care is critical, because it prepares your lawn to winter in a healthy manner. Even though the lawn appears dormant in the winter, there’s a lot going on under the ground that you’ll want to address. By paying attention to lawn care now, you will enjoy a healthier lawn in the coming year.
**Easy Essential Fall Lawn Projects**
So where should you spend your time as you prepare for fall lawn care? The tasks best done in this season are not difficult or time consuming, and they have a big impact on the overall health of your lawn. Here are some areas where you should focus your time.
**Fertilize the Lawn**
Fertilizing your lawn twice in the fall will give you beautiful growth in the spring. In early fall, fertilizing will help give the roots food to rebuild after the challenges of hot summer months. Six to eight weeks after the first application, use a fall lawn feeding product to give your lawn some needed energy to store up for spring growth.
The timing of this step will depend on your local season, the type of lawn you have, and the temperatures. It may be best to consult with a lawn care professional for expert advice about when to fertilize and what products to use.
**Reseed Bare Spots**
Next, check your lawn for any bare spots left from summer fun and damage from pets. Add some seed to these areas, choosing a product designed for patch repairing on lawns. If you do not have any actual bare spots, but notice that your lawn is simply getting a bit thin, consider overseeding the entire lawn. Spread seed over the entire lawn, keep it moist throughout the fall, and enjoy a thicker, healthier lawn in the spring.
Don’t quit mowing in the fall. You need to continue mowing until the first hard frost, which stops grass growth. However, you may need to adjust mowing height. In the fall, keep your lawn at a 2.5 to 3-inch height. Letting it get longer than this will encourage fungi to grow over the winter, but cutting it shorter can actually hurt root development.
**Attend to Leaves**
Don’t let leaves sit on the lawn too long. Keep them raked well. A thick layer of leaves will block sunlight and make your grass become thinner. Make sure the leaves are properly raked before the first snowfall especially.
**Aerate the Lawn**
Fall is a good time to aerate the lawn. The thatch, which is a layer of roots, debris, and stems, that covers the surface of your lawn’s soil prevents nutrients and water from reaching the roots. Using a specially designed tool, aeration pulls holes out of that thatch so your lawn’s roots can get fed. Doing this in the fall will encourage healthier roots and better growth in the summer.
**Kill the Weeds**
If your fertilizer did not contain a weed killing component, consider a separate application. By applying a weed killer in the fall, you can prevent early spring weeds from popping up. This will help your lawn look better as the growing season comes back around.
**Clean It Up**
In addition to cleaning up the leaves this fall, make sure your toys, furniture, and other supplies are not left out on the lawn. When you head indoors due to cold winter weather, and leave these items behind, the items will damage the lawn. Pick up the yard well, and your lawn will be healthier for the efforts.