How to Care for Your Yard in the Fall

You’ve worked hard to maintain your beautiful lawn all through the spring and summer. Now it’s time to complete steps in order to ensure that your yard will throughout the colder months. There are several important fall yard work chores you can do to help usher in a lush lawn in the spring.

Fall Yard Work Tip One: If you are not getting enough rain to maintain your lawn, continue to water it on a regular basis while paying strict attention to local water conservation ordinances. Don’t count on winter snow or ice to provide your grass with the moisture it needs to grow.

Fall Yard Work Tip Two: As long as your grass is growing, continue to cut it. Depending on the type of grass you have and your climate, you may be able to stop mowing relatively early in the fall, or you may find yourself still mowing the lawn at the end of October.

Fall Yard Work Tip Three: It is important to rake your leaves regularly. First of all, the weight of leaves can literally smother your grass during the winter. Second, leaves block out the sunlight which is vital to your lawn’s growth. Shred the leaves and use them as mulch for your garden. Leaf shredders are available for around $200.00, or you can simply attach a grass-catcher to your mower and mow over a pile of leaves. You can also purchase a mulching mower to get rid of unwanted leaves-the finely shredded leaves will act as a nutrient for your lawn.

Fall Yard Work Tip Four: Aerate your lawn. Day to day activities (e.g., children playing on the lawn, people walking across the lawn, cars being driven across or parked on the lawn) can cause the soil in your yard to become compacted. Compacted soil does not readily absorb water or fertilizer. It also stifles plant roots, which need oxygen to grow. Aeration can increase the rate at which oxygen and nutrients reach the plant roots, so the roots will grow stronger and faster. Aeration also increases how well water is absorbed into the soil and decreases run-off. The best time to aerate your lawn is in the fall, which is a time of active growth for grass roots. Aerators can be rented at most lawn and garden stores.

Fall Yard Work Tip Five: Seed or over-seed your lawn if it appears weak or sparse. As mentioned above, fall is a time of tremendous growth among the roots of your lawn. Newly seeded grass will take hold quickly. By the next spring, your lawn should look richer and thicker. Besides looking nicer, your thick new lawn will be better equipped to prevent intruders such as crabgrass from taking hold. Experts suggest purchasing mixed seeds (i.e., seeds of several different types of grass). It’s also a good idea to make sure the weed content in your purchased seed is low.

Fall Yard Work Tip Six: Fertilize your lawn. Fertilizing your lawn in the fall will help replace nutrients that were drained during the spring and summer months. Fertilizing also gives the roots of the grass a healthy start going into winter and enables them to store food more efficiently.

Yes, it’s frustrating to think that you still need to worry about yard work in the fall, but the work you do now will help ensure a lawn to be proud of come spring and summer.

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