The harsh winter months in our climate are the hardest on your grass, and the Autumn is when your lawn begins to prepare itself for winter, and next summer. Fall maintenance practices are important in building up tolerance to damaging temperature fluctuations, and disease. Here are four critical steps you can take to help prepare your lawn for the upcoming months.
1. Fertilization – Autumn is the most crucial time to fertilize your lawn. It is during the cool days of fall that the grass plant slows its top growth and begins storing nutrients and sugars for the harsh months ahead.
2. Aeration – The benefits of fall aeration to the grass plant cannot be stressed enough. This service reduces soil compaction, excessive thatch, and provides a top dressing for the lawn
3. Mowing – Just as mowing below the recommended height in the heat of summer will damage your lawn, so too will mowing too short in the cold weather of fall. When the cool weather of Autumn arrives, raise your mowing height to one half inch above the recommended height for the summer months. This will help stimulate stunted roots. For the final mowing of the year, lower your mowing height to one half inch below the standard summer mowing height. This will help the foliage prepare for winter and avoid damage from disease. As well, the clippings from the final mowing should be left on the lawn as mulch only if a mulching mower can be used.
4. Raking – It is important to remove all large piles of debris that cannot be mulched back into the lawn with your lawn mower. Lawn mower attachments are available that chop grass and leaves into tiny bits that provide a light top dressing which will supply nutrients to the soil as they breakdown. Large quantities of debris will not breakdown quickly, and so will damage the lawn by suffocating it, and by giving a moist home to damaging diseases.
Get out, enjoy a last of the warm weather and finish up your yard work. Happy Raking!