When the air turns cooler and the grass begins to grow more slowly it can seem like your lawn care work is over for the season. The truth is, fall is one of the most important times for lawn care.
If you take the time to care for your lawn properly during the early fall, it will have a better chance to be healthier when it begins to grow again the following spring. There are several ways you can boost your lawn’s performance just before it goes dormant for the winter.
Some ways to do this are:
Each fall, you should winterize your irrigation system to keep it in prime condition for the next spring and summer.
Check to see that your sprinkler system is functioning correctly. Make sure that your sprinkler heads aren't blocked and are directed to the plants you would like them to water. Look for perpetual damp spots in your landscape as these might indicate a leak or broken line that will have to be fixed.
Get your back flow checked.
Clear debris from your gutters and downspouts. This will prevent overflow and keep the water from your roof directed where you want it to go during the winter rains.
Put garden hoses away for the season and insulate outdoor pipes. Empty and disconnect your garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Also be sure to insulate your outdoor faucets and any exposed pipes for the winter, and prepare your lawn care equipment for winter storage.
You need to keep mowing as long as the lawn is growing. Gradually start lowering your mowing height once the grass growth starts to slow down or if taller grass is making leaf clean up difficult. For the final, before-winter mow, cut cool-season grasses to 2½ inches and warm-season grasses between 1½ and 2 inches. This is an important part of lawn maintenance in autumn.
Autumn is the absolute best time to fertilize the lawn. The growth rate for grass starts to slow down as everything gets cooler in the autumn, but the growth rate of the grass roots themselves will usually stay the same. When you fertilze your lawns when the grass is at this stage, the grass roots will be deep and full of the nutrients that will help the grass grow beautifully when the weather starts getting warmer.
Reseeding early in the autumn. Using a combination of mulch, fertilizer, and seeds for this process will yield the best results. This strategy will also work to help prevent the weeds from returning when spring arrives. The developing seedlings will crowd out the weeds, preventing them from becoming established in the ground.
Clean the leaves as they fall. Stacks of dead leaves will shield your grass from the sun and cause it to die fairly quickly. Moist dead leaves can also lead to diseases and mold that can be very harmful to your lawn. Clear the leaves away at least once a week for the best results.
Dead leaves make excellent organic compost that can be used to fertilize your lawn once it has decomposed properly
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