Nothing makes a home more attractive than a lush, green lawn. But what some people don’t understand is in order to maintain healthy grass, there are certain steps that must be taken. In the late summer/early fall, it is necessary to do a few things to your lawn in order to ensure you have that beautiful yard come spring.
Fertilize, Fertilize, Fertilize
Fertilizing your lawn is perhaps one of the most important steps. Most people in the United States have a blend of cool season grasses. Because of this, before the first freeze of the season, spread some fertilizer.
A fertilizer is absolutely essential to replace all of those grass nutrients that can sometimes be lost after a long, hot summer. The fertilizer will replace these nutrients and give your grass something to feed on throughout the winter under a blanket of snow. After a good fertilizer, your lawn will look greener and more beautiful come spring.
Test Your Soil
Some experts strongly encourage performing a pH test on your soil. The key to a good lawn is a neutral pH level. If your soil is too acidic it may become thin quickly. Treat any acidic areas of lawn with lawn products made with lime. Any alkaline areas should be treated with a product made with sulfur.
Cut Your Grass Low Gradually
You have probably heard it is a good idea to cut your grass very short once fall hits. While this true, it is a better idea to start gradually mowing your lawn a little bit shorter bit by bit. Cutting your grass too short all at once can actually shock your lawn. By starting to cut it a tiny bit shorter every time you mow, starting in August, it will allow your grass to acclimate better.
If you leave your lawn too long in the winter, damage may be done. Mice, rats, and other rodents are looking for a warm place to hide out in the winter and sleep. Mice love a patch of long grass and have the ability to destroy the grass by building a nest on top of it. It’s understandable that mowing your lawn in the dead of winter can become a little bit of a hassle, suffering from frozen cold hands and lack of energy to mow the whole lawn could make you want to get back inside rather quickly. Depending on the size of your lawn, you may want to look at some different types of riding mowers that could make winter mowing a little more comfortable and quicker too!
If you see a lot of dead spots in the spring, this may be because something has been using these spots as a home during the winter. By cutting your grass short in the fall it will also protect any new growth that is still fragile, as it becomes a protective barrier.
Avoid Walking on Brown Grass
One thing many people don’t realize is that brown grass should not be walked on, according to Discover Ziehler in Beaverceek. It is much easier to wear a path on brown grass that may be difficult to mend.
It is a good idea to discourage the walking on grass by making sure all pathways to your house are clear. Keep your sidewalk free of ice and snow.
Never ever allow people to park their cars on your lawn. Driving on grass will kill it faster than anything else. It will also make your lawn much more susceptible to bad grass such as crabgrass and weed. Grass is a fairly resilient plant, but when it is brown it becomes much easier to damage.
Clean Up Your Yard
In the winter, you are outside much less and it is easy to overlook toys, dog accessories, and even outdoor furniture that may actually be damaging your grass. When items are left on the grass during the winter, under the snow, they can create dead spots that are very hard to fix.
Every couple of weeks, it is a good idea to scan your outdoor space and look for things that have been left on the lawn. This small, simple step can save you from those unsightly brown spots in the spring.
Winter is a time to relax when it comes to yard care. But, in the fall you need to take the time to rake up any dead leaves.
Some experts believe that mulching or leaving leaves can be beneficial, but this is only true if you have leaves covering less than 20 percent of your lawn. Here are some reasons why raking is a necessity:
- Leaving leaves on your grass all winter long can inhibit the growth of new grass. It can suffocate your lawn.
- When the leaves become wet in the winter they can actually become moldy or mossy. This can promote diseases such as snow mold disease.
- Leaving your leaves can also encourage rodents such as voles or mice to come make themselves at home in a pile of leaves on your lawn.
Another added benefit of raking is it dethatches your lawn. A lot of thatch buildup can have detrimental consequences to your grass. By raking, you are helping to get rid of any excess thatch. If you still believe your soil is too compact, try an aeration treatment.
Aerating your lawn allows nutrients, air, and water to easily get down to the roots. For lawns that have a lot of traffic, build up can occur. Aeration is a great way to get rid of that buildup.
Remove the Competition
It is a good idea to try to remove as many weeds as you can in your grass prior to the winter. Just like your grass, the weeds are looking for nutrients and will do what they can to get what they need. You do not want the weeds taking the precious nutrients away from your grass.
Overseeding is a great way to foster new growth. Do this when the temperatures are 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. But, always make sure to check your hardiness zone to make sure you live in an area that fosters cool weather grass. If you are in a warm weather grass zone, it is not the best time to do this.
By following these simple steps every fall, you are sure to earn that beautiful, green, and thick lawn you desire. It is definitely worth the extra effort. So go ahead, and work hard so you can enjoy your winter.