It’s that time of year everyone doesn’t quite look forward to: school’s back in session and you have to watch out for kiddies on the roads, and the weather is changing for the chillier. While the days are still quite warm, the mercury during the night drops down quite a bit and now you’re reaching for a heavy sweater or jacket in the mornings and evenings. Yes, fall is definitely on its way. And with the next season brings a new way of tending to your grass and garden, so zip up your hoodie, grab a mug of hot tea, and keep reading.
Don’t Change Much about Mowing the Grass
Keep up your regular mowing schedule and how you water the lawn, too, right through the fall. We’re not at the frost cutoff just yet, so your grass still needs regular trimming to keep it healthy and looking good. But what you do want to do is change the blade height a little. Just tweak the height a little bit as the weather gets colder so more sun can reach the grass blades. Depending on where you live, this may not have to happen just yet, so keep watching the weather channel for when you do have to.
Aerate Your Lawn
This is something you should be doing right now so your grass gets the best fighting chance for winter dormancy as possible. You want to make sure oxygen, fertilizer and water can reach into the deep spots under the earth line, and aerating does that. The job doesn’t take very long and you can easily rent a gas-powered walk behind aerator, which will poke little holes into the earth and remove those grass plugs so nutrients can get in.
Repair Any Damaged Spots
You may have tried to fix bald or patchy spots on your lawn during the summer, and found that the searing heat of the sun made new grass growth difficult. Now, as the weather’s getting cooler, you don’t have to content with blistering heat that kills grass before it has a chance to sprout. Rake the soil in the patchy area so the dirt is ready to receive new grass, put a healthy layer of lawn repair mixture over it, and water so it can start sprouting. After the first watering, you don’t have to be as regular in your watering and only go at it every week or two weeks.
Apply a Layer of Fall Fertilizer
We call it “fall fertilizer”, but there’s nothing on the market that’s geared to work better in cold weather instead of high summer. Instead, fertilizer is grouped according to the ratio of the nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) and you’ll need to pick out a blend depending on the kind of grass you have and where you live. But what’s awesome about applying fertilizer in the fall is you’re giving your grass an extra boost of nutrients to tide it over during the winter, as well as helping out the grass roots and rhizomes now. Just make sure the fertilizer is spread well and evenly over your entire lawn.
Rake the Leaves
The one thing you don’t want to do is wait until the trees have dropped all their leaves because then your job will be needlessly difficult. Plus, the leaves will get wet, heavy and stuck together, also making raking harder than it has to be. Instead, chip away at it little by little so it never seems like a gargantuan task. Clearing your grass of leaves helps ensure your lawn doesn’t suffocate under a wet, clumpy mat so it looks great in the spring.