True or false: Your lawn needs less care in the fall because grass grows more slowly. FALSE! During this time of year, grass absorbs energy, moisture and nutrients as it prepares for a long, dormant winter. Even though we’re still in the midst of summer, it’s never too soon to start thinking about your lawn care for fall.
Adjust Your Mowers Height
At the beginning of the summer you probably raised the height of your lawn mower to reduce stress on your lawn. Fall is the time to lower the mower deck. For the last two cuttings of the year, drop the blade to its lowest setting. Cutting your lawn slightly shorter in autumn can help grass from becoming matted under leaves and snow. Grass that’s cut too short, however, has fewer roots and allows weeds to take hold.
Stick To Your Watering Schedule
Lawns need water when they’re dry, and if a summer drought carries over into autumn, you’ll want to water your lawn once or twice a week to ensure the soil is soaked several inches deep. The best time to irrigate is early morning, as winds are usually lighter and you’ll see less water lost to evaporation. Watering in the evening can encourage fungal diseases.
Aerate The Soil
Aerating your soil lets oxygen, water and fertilizer reach grass roots more easily. You can either do this yourself with a walk-behind lawn aerator, or hire a landscaping contractor.
Check For Thatch
Thatch, a layer of dead organic matter that is mixed with living plant parts, can cause disease and insect problems, as well as lead to damage from drought and cold weather. It can develop if you over-fertilize too often. To check for thatch, remove a plug of grass and soil. A half inch of thatch or less is nothing to worry about, but more than that and you’ll need to enact a management program.
Break Out The Rake
Keeping your lawn clear of fallen leaves will prevent them from becoming a wet, matted mess that can form an impenetrable layer that, if left unmoved, will suffocate grass and create an environment where fungal diseases can grow.
Feed It Fertilizer
The best time to fertilize your lawn is in fall, when grass is busily working to store energy for the long winter ahead. We recommend you wait until mid-to-late fall to apply a dry fertilizer to all grassy areas, being careful not to miss any spots.