Using Autumn to Prepare for Spring

We’re commonly tricked into thinking that autumn is the perfect time to stop paying attention to our yards. WHOA! Not true. This is the BEST time to prepare your lawn for next spring. Right now, your lawn is absorbing nutrients and water to prepare itself for winter. If you put work into it now, you’ll be much happier to welcome spring as you watch your lawn flourish with little help.

1. Continue giving your grass a haircut | If you thought your days of mowing have come to an end until spring, I have bad news for you. Mow as needed until the end of fall, which is when you should drop the mower’s blades to its lowest settings for the last 2 times you mow. Don’t trim off more than 1/3 of the grass blades at any time though! The trick is to gradually lower the blades until the final 2 cuttings. By mowing this way, you’re letting more sunlight reach the crown of the grass, which makes your lawn less brown during the winter.

2. Let that soil breathe | This is the time to aerate your lawn to get oxygen, water, and fertilizer down into the roots of the grass. If you’re willing to do it yourself, you can rent a self-propelled machine that will aerate your soil and extract plugs of dirt. If you have a large lawn, you might want to hire a landscaping contractor.

3. Pull out the rake | When you let leaves pile up on your lawn, they will become wet, matted, and create a layer that will suffocate your grass and breed diseases (we’ve talked about these diseases before). Don’t wait for all of your leaves to finish falling before you start raking. If you absolutely detest raking, you can collect leaves using a lawnmower with a collection bag. This is most effective with a large yard with deciduous trees.

4. Fertilize | Listen: If you only fertilize your lawn once a year, do it in the FALL. Apply a dry lawn fertilizer in mid-to-late fall. For a more comprehensive guide based on your type of grass and climate, here’s a good resource. The fall is a great time to fertilize because while grass leaves grow slowly, the roots and rhizomes grow quickly regardless. Fertilizing now will deliver essential nutrients for growing deep roots and reserve those nutrients for a healthy spring.

5. Rogaine those bare spots | Nothing sticks out worse than bald spots on a lawn. The best way to fix this is with an all-in-one lawn repair mixture that has grass seed, special lawn fertilizer, and organic mulch. Loosen the soil in the bald spots before spreading a thick layer of the mixture over it. Lightly compact, water thoroughly, and continue watering every other day for a fortnight (ahem, 2 weeks).

6. Weed control | If you’re completely over weeding all those pesky little dandelions and thorny monsters, now is the time to solve your problem. Like all other plants at this time, weeds are absorbing everything that comes their way, including poison. If you apply weed killer now, you won’t worry about weeds in the spring. When you purchase your herbicide, make sure to read the instructions. Most commonly, it’s suggested that you apply during early-to-mid autumn when it’s consistently above 60 degrees F.

Rainy Days Irrigation, Inc. | 115 Sigma Dr. | Garner, NC | (919) 779-9285
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