Taking care of your lawn in the fall ensures that your lawn will have less winter damage, will recover faster in the spring, and have deep roots to help it withstand the summer’s drought.
Here are our top seven recommendations for healthy lawn maintenance in the fall:
Pest control Apply nematodes for grubs, and continue pulling weeds.
Fertilize to help heal damage in your lawn This is the first of two fertilizer applications in the fall. The 1st is in early fall (mid-August to mid-Sept). Nitrogen and potash stimulate turf growth and repair and harden off the grass for winter.
Overseed lawns to repair turf damage or loss Sometimes fertilizer can’t fix the damage if it’s too extensive. In those cases, uniformly distribute the grass seed. Aeration can enhance the seed-to-soil contact. Recommended seed: Perennial Ryegrass, Fine Fescue (for shade or low maintenance) and Tall Fescue (for drought tolerance).
Control thatch in the fall Thatch is a layer of dead leaves and grass that accumulates between the actively growing grass and the soil beneath. It can harbour disease-causing organisms, and lawns with an abundance of thatch are more prone to winter injury. Two ways of controlling thatch – core aeration and dethatching.
Remove fallen leaves before snowfall Rake up the leaves, or mulch them up in your lawn mower. If the fallen leaves aren’t removed, they will eventually kill the grass underneath them.
Cut the lawn a little longer in the fall The longer you leave the grass blades, the deeper your roots will be. Longer grass blades also provide some insulation in the winter. However, if the grass is too long going into the winter, it will become matted which encourages winter diseases such as snow mould.
Late season fertilizer application Apply when the grass has stopped growing but is still green, usually mid- to late October. Timing is critical: applying too early promotes growth that will make it more susceptible to winter injury, and too late is just a waste of your time and money.
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