If you’d like a healthy lawn growing into next year, now is the time to prepare. Fall is the perfect season to give your lawn a little TLC, so here are a few ways we like to keep grass looking fresh come spring!
1. Keep Watering, Set a Schedule
If you're not receiving at least an inch of water per week from rainfall, keep your sprinklers or irrigation system running until the end of October. This will ensure your lawn remains green until the frosty winter mornings. Remember to disconnect hoses and flush the irrigation system before colder months to avoid frozen pipes and spigots.
2. Clear Gutter Spouts
If you want to avoid damage to your gutters + roof, it's important to remove any leaves and debris that have collected in your gutter spouts. A plumber's snake can be a great help in removing clumps of wet leaves from clogged downspouts.
3. Cut Your Grass - No, Really
As we approach the autumn months, be sure to rake and remove any dead leaves before snowfall. Otherwise, they’ll be sodden mats in the spring and smother the sprouting grass below. It’s a lot easier to rake dry leaves! Also, set your mower to cut the grass short: 1.5-2,” once a year. In cold climates, it will reduce the chance of snow mold forming. (And tall grass blades won’t lie down and smother the new grass next spring.)
4. Remove Weeds and Dead Shrubs
It's common to assume cold temperatures kill weeds and prevent them from coming back in the spring, but we’ve learned the hard way - this is often not the case. Weeds are hardy and can survive through almost any season, like it or not. In fact, some even become stronger during the winter by absorbing energy from dormant grass and shrubs. This means that you could be in for a nasty surprise if you don't take steps to prevent weeds ahead of time.
One of the best ways to prevent invasive growth is by applying a pre-emergent weed killer to your lawn in the early fall. This product eliminates existing weeds, as well as those that have yet to pop up. For this reason, it's important to apply elimination products before any weeds have a chance to take root. Doing so will give you a head start on weed control and aid in avoiding an unruly lawn come spring.
5. Plant Cool-Season Grass
The best times to overseed your lawn are late summer and early fall. This gives the new seedlings time to establish themselves before winter sets in. To begin the overseeding process, trim your lawn a bit shorter than usual. Next, use a garden rake to loosen the top layer of soil. Spread the new seed evenly over the lawn - be sure to use a mix that is appropriate for your climate. Finally, water the area well and keep it moist until the new grass has germinated.
There are three main types of cool-season grasses: Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue, and Perennial Ryegrass. Kentucky Bluegrass is the most common type of cool-season grass, as it can withstand cold temperatures and is known for its ability to bounce back from winter damage. Tall Fescue is known for its heat tolerance; a top contender for areas that experience hot summers. Perennial Ryegrass is a fast-growing blade that is often used for turf or lawns.
If you find it difficult to keep up with your lawn care schedule this fall, consider hiring a landscaping service. This will ensure work is performed with the highest standards: on-time completion and clear communication. With a little effort, you can have a lush, green backyard all year round! (edited)