The flowers in your garden bloom beautifully during summer.
Once autumn arrives, the temperature starts to drop and the days become shorter.
And the leaves start falling.
It’s important to take certain measures during fall so your lawn will continue to be healthy.
You don’t want your turf to die as it’s not easy to restore it when spring comes.
So, don’t put away your lawn equipment yet.
Let’s look at some autumn lawn care tips to ensure your yard looks great all year round.
Aerate Your Lawn
Aeration during fall is the best lawn maintenance.
Most homeowners are not aware that soil compaction is a common turf problem.
How does core aeration benefit your lawn?
- Breaks up the compacted soil to reduce compaction.
- Increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the root.
- Improves water retention in the soil.
- Gives more room for the roots to develop.
- Controls thatch by cutting through it regularly.
- Makes overseeding possible.
Even if your grass has stopped growing, you can still benefit from heavy core aeration.
When is the best time to aerate your lawn?
Late fall is the best time of year to aerate the cool season grasses
During autumn, the lawn can heal itself easily.
If you try to aerate in summer, you will kill your grass.
What tools to use for aeration?
When it comes to tools, avoid using those with spikes for aeration.
They can worsen the soil compaction.
Aerating is like punching holes in your lawn. It removes cores from your lawn and drops them back on the grass.
So, choose a plug aerator that takes out cores every time it hits the ground.
Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator Manual Grass Dethatching Turf Plug Core Aeration Tool ID-6C
Mow Your Yard
As long as your grass is growing, you need to mow.
During fall, your grass may grow slowly due to the short period of sunlight and low temperature.
But you should continue to mow.
If you don’t keep the top part of grass blades short, they will develop fungi during winter.
By cutting the upper section of the grass, you can prevent the fungi from spreading all over the grass blades.
Keep the mowing height between three to four inches until the late stage of autumn.
Before the winter sets in, do one final mowing and reduce the cutting height to two inches.
Decrease the mowing height gradually.
If you go straight from a cutting height of four inches to two inches, you will end up with a discolored and unhealthy turf.
Fertilize Your Lawn
You may think it is not necessary to fertilize your lawn during autumn.
The opposite is true.
With cooler temperatures and shorter days, the growth of the blades will slow down significantly.
But the roots continue to grow until winter time.
Fall is the best time for fertilization to strengthen the roots.
Your lawn needs to
- recover from summer,
- store enough nutrients to survive the coming winter, and
- prepare for the following spring.
Remember that over fertilization will make your grass more vulnerable to damage from extremely low temperature (winter).
On the other hand, when fertilization is lacking, not only your grass will turn yellow but also are more prone to ice or traffic damage during winter.
There is no point to apply fertilizer during winter as the soil will be frozen.
How often should you fertilize your lawn?
It depends on your location and the variety of your grass.
Usually once or twice during fall should be sufficient.
Rake The Leaves
You should never leave dead leaves to stay on your yard for too long.
Piles of dead leaves can suffocate your grass.
They deprive your turf of the needed sunlight, air, and water.
Moist dead leaves encourage the growth of mold, resulting in turf diseases such as snow mold.
So, rake your lawn at least once each week to rejuvenate grass.
Mulch Your Lawn
It’s a waste to throw away the dead leaves.
Unlike raking, mulching is an effective way to manage dead leaves without damaging your grass.
Mulching is a process of chopping up the leaves when you mow your lawn.
Combining both grass clippings and shredded dead leaves can serve as organic matters to your grass.
Choose a quality lawn mower with mulching capability.
Make sure the blades are sharp and the lawn must be dry before you mow.
- If your yard is damp, the existing moisture can spread a disease from one small area in the lawn to other parts.
- Instead of a clean cut with a sharp blade, the dull blade will pull the grass, passing the disease to other healthy turfs.
Raise your mower deck to the highest setting (the grass should be at least 2.5 to 3 inches long to retain moisture) and mow the leaves at least twice.
It cuts the bagged leaves and clippings into tiny pieces.
Then scatters them throughout your lawn.
You’ll notice leaf residue on your lawn but it will be gone after a few days.
Mulching provides future weed control and essential nutrients that can save you money and time.
Get Rid Of The Weeds
Weeds always pop up in your garden when you’re not looking.
Dealing with weeds is an ongoing battle, especially if you have bare, patchy areas in your lawn.
The fall is a great time of the year to pull out weeds that always invade your lawn.
For a large weeding problem, you may need to use an herbicide.
If the seed propagation is responsible for the weeds, you can apply corn gluten meal.
As a natural pre-emergent herbicide, it prevents grass and weed seeds from sprouting.
It also acts as the fertilizer during autumn because it contains 9% nitrogen.
The bad news is that you can’t use it together with a fall overseeding program as it will kill every germinating seed.
If the weeds are few, you can dig up as many perennial weed roots as you can with your own hands.
Make sure you remove all root fragments.
Any residual root parts broken off from the main weed as small as a centimeter in length can easily multiply into new pesky plants.
Overseed The Bald Spots
A dense lawn protects against weeds.
So, it makes sense to overseed existing turf.
Autumn signifies the end to annual broadleaf weeds and crabgrass.
This means less competition for water, nutrients, space, and sunlight.
Combined with the warm soil from months of the summer sun and moderate day temperatures, seeding your lawn in the fall is the most favorable time for maximum results.
Overseeding fills in thin spots or bare patches of an existing lawn.
You should plant different grasses in the right spot to guarantee long-term success.
After reseeding, apply a thin layer of compost to promote germination.
Frequent watering is essential to prevent the seeds from drying out and promotes root development.
Water Your Yard
Even though the weather is cool during autumn, you still need to water your lawn especially, for cool-season grass.
With sufficient moisture in the soil, the grassroots will stay hydrated and they will still be alive after winter.
You can stop watering when the ground freezes.
Your lawn is ready to go into dormancy.
It’s pointless to water because the frozen ground blocks the water flow to the root.
You have learned many ways to keep your lawn green and healthy during autumn.
From aerating to watering, your grass can defend itself against mold and other diseases.
At the same time, it improves its storage of nutrients to prepare for the approaching winter.
With these lawn care tips, your yard should look amazing once spring arrives.