As the seasons change and fall rolls into winter, it’s time to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and prepare your yard for the coming season. Certain chores done now will lead to a thicker and greener lawn when spring arrives.
As fall comes to a close, lower the blades on your lawn mower for the last few cuttings of the season. Allow the clippings to remain from the last mowing. These clippings will provide nutrients to your lawn as they decompose through the winter months. A self-mulching mower is especially suited to this task.
When preparing your mower for winter storage, drain the gasoline from the tank. It is also a great time to get the blade sharpened and the mower serviced in anticipation of its use when spring arrives.
Now is the ideal time to remove thatch, an accumulation of dead grass, stems, roots and other plant debris, and aerate your lawn. Heavy raking is required to remove the thatch so that water and air can reach the soil. Aeration, accomplished by removing small soil plugs, helps water, air and light to reach the roots. Dethatching and aeration allows nutrients to enter the soil which strengthens the roots.
Rake leaves regularly to prevent them from smothering your lawn by limiting air circulation and blocking light.
Prepare for the next growing season and control next year’s weeds by applying a broadleaf weed pre-emergent now.
Repair bare and thinning spots in your lawn by reseeding and over-seeding. Dethatch and rake areas to be seeded, loosening the soil. Sow by hand sparingly. Water consistently until the new grass has reached a height of about three inches.
If later in the season, grass seeds may still be dispersed. The seeds will go dormant when temperatures drop, and will germinate in the spring at which time they will need to be watered regularly until reaching three inches in height.
Lawns require adequate watering through the fall and winter, about one inch per week. You will need to supplement if rainfall is inadequate.