A lush green, healthy spring lawn starts with good fall preparation. In autumn, your lawn is working hard to absorb all the extra energy, moisture and nutrients it can in preparation to go dormant during winter months. Some added care from you can help it along and look its best in spring.
Raise your Lawnmower Height
If you’ve been following our lawn care advice on the best way to mow your lawn, you know to always mow your grass high, never removing more than 1/3 of the total leaf blade. Come fall, this rule is even more important. Raise your mower deck another half-inch to give your grass more surface area to store moisture and nutrients for winter.
Aerate Cool Season Lawns
About every other year, loosen your lawn’s soil by aerating it. Aeration punches holes through the thatch, pulling up plugs, allowing water, air and fertilizer to penetrate compacted soil, roots and stems. There are three types of aeration – core which removes two- to three-inch plugs, spike which creates holes in the soil and liquid aeration which creates microscopic pores in the soil that absorb and retain water.
Add Fall Fertilizer to Cool Season Grasses
Warm season grasses, like Bahia, Bermuda and Zoysia, like to be fertilized when it’s warm because that’s when they grow best. It’s better to fertilize them in late spring or early summer. But cool season grasses, like bluegrass and fescue, prefer an early spring and fall fertilizer application. Use a fertilizer that has a 3:1:2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium like a 21-7-14 or 15-5-10.
Deal with Late-Summer Weeds
Even the best lawn care regimens can miss late-summer weeds. Snuff out stubborn dandelions and other broadleaf weeds to ensure they don’t return in the spring. Apply a weed killer like Compare-N-Save Weed Killer for Lawns in the fall. Compare-N-Save Weed Killer for Lawns works on both cool and warm-season grasses like Bahia, Common Bermuda, Bluegrass, Centipede, Fescue, Ryegrass, St. Augustine and Zoysia Grass. It only targets the weeds and won’t harm your lawn. Plus, it can be used as both a spot treatment and to treat an entire lawn.
Be Quick to Get Rid of Leaves
As soon as leaves fall, get them off your lawn before they smother your still-growing grass. Leaves block the light and trap moisture, both of which deliver blows to your lawn. Blow, rake or even mow leaves off your lawn. If you do take the easy way and mow your leaves up, make sure they are dry.
Seed Bare Spots
Fall is the ideal time to reseed your lawn as temperatures level out and your new growth doesn’t have to compete with as many weeds and crabgrass. Ryegrass, like Mayberry Ryegrass, is a great seed to use for fall applications as it can tolerate cool temperatures. Ryegrass can stay lush and green during winter months. It’s also an inexpensive option for short-term erosion control.
Ragan & Massey has the products to help your lawn have the ultimate beauty sleep this winter so it can awaken fresh and green next spring. Visit the Where to Buy page to find the products near you or to order them online.