Football is back on TV, supermarkets are selling Halloween costumes and decorations, and coffee shops are touting the return of pumpkin spice. Yes, there’s no denying that summer is winding down and fall is nearly here. While the return of cooler weather can be a boon for outdoor activities and reducing your energy bills, it also gives you a chance to prepare your lawn for the spring.
If you were unsatisfied with the appearance of your lawn this summer, you can probably trace it back to the things you did (or didn’t do) last fall. Don’t make the same mistake twice. With a few weeks to go before fall officially arrives, you have plenty of time to take all the steps necessary to have a healthy lawn this fall, winter, and into next spring and summer.
To get your lawn as well prepared as possible for the next 9 months, check out Blindster’s tips below:
Aerate the soil
Most grasses are highly responsive to oxygen, water, and fertilizer during the fall, but it won’t do much good if those nutrients can’t reach the roots. A self-propelled aerator can be rented from many hardware stores and rental outlets, and it offers a quick way to aerate even the largest lawns. However, for huge jobs and lawns that are several acres in size, you may be better off hiring a landscaping service unless you want to dedicate several weekends to this project.
Fertilize your lawn
Just as aerating should be done in the fall, so too should fertilizing. In fact, many lawn care experts say that once-a-year fertilizing done in the fall is sufficient for most lawns and will lead to optimal growth. But don’t be too eager to begin fertilizing as soon as the calendar hits late September. Wait until the season is in full swing and temperatures have started to drop before you break out the fertilizer. Using a walk-behind drop spreader, make sure you hit every inch of your lawn to avoid patchy growth or brown spots in the spring.
Address bare spots
If the high temperatures and dry weather that’s common during summer did a number on your lawn, fall is the perfect time to repair the damage. Check your grass for any bare or brown spots and use a lawn repair mixture—which will contain grass seed, mulch, and fertilizer—and prepare the soil by loosening it with a rake or aerator. Then, spread the mixture over any areas of your lawn that need extra attention and water it right away. Continue to water those areas at least three to four times per week for the next month for the best results.
Start raking right away
For optimal lawn growth and health, your grass and roots need constant exposure to oxygen and sunlight. Being buried under a big pile of leaves certainly isn’t conducive to a healthy lawn, so be sure to stay on top of raking once the leaves begin to fall. Waiting too long not only deprives your grass of the nutrients it needs, but it can also expose it to disease. Morning dew and rainfall can accumulate on dead leaves, causing an even heavier weight on your grass and increasing its risk of developing funguses that can harm its growth.
Get serious about weeds
Weeds can be a year-long problem for homeowners, but they’re at their most vulnerable during the fall. Like all plants, weeds go into survival mode during the fall when temperatures drop and days become shorter. That means they can hog even more of the nutrients that your grass needs. Manually pull weeds or use a safe and environmentally friendly herbicide to get rid of them before spring and you’ll have less of a headache to deal with when your lawn is in full bloom.