Late Fall Lawn Care

The fall is a busy time for gardeners. Not only are you trying to clean up your gardens and flower beds to prepare them for the winter, you are also winterizing your garden so that you can hit the ground running in the spring. Often, we forget that our lawn requires the same amount of love and care. A healthy lawn is just as important as any flower or vegetable. Therefore, after you have finished harvesting the last bit of vegetables and flowers from your garden and you have successfully closed up shop, give your lawn some extra care before the winter comes so that it’s as green as ever the next year.

Late fall lawn care begins with mowing and raking. Continue to mow your lawn until the grass stops growing. With so much to do, mowing your lawn is often neglected. Most gardeners assume that the grass stops growing long before it actually does. They become complacent and assume it will take care of itself. This is false. The only thing taking care of your lawn is you. If you slack off now, the result will be a brown lawn still full of dead grass and foliage in the spring.  Most grass will stop growing around early November. Mow your lawn at a height of 2-2.5 inches in fall for the best results in the spring. Don’t forget to continue to rake your lawn of all leaves and debris. A layer of leaves can smother and damage the turfgrass plants. Raking leaves will also provide you with an excellent source of compost for later.

Don’t be afraid to rake deep so that you begin to dethatch the lawn. Dethatching lawns refers to the removal of that thin layer of dead grass that builds on top of your lawn over time from mowing. Even though raking won’t remove all of the thatch, it will help manage the buildup that occurs over time. If you really want to properly dethatch your lawn, rent a core aerator from your local hardware store. This will be cheaper than hiring a lawn service and will also help break up the soil in your lawn to allow for more absorption of nutrients to the roots of your lawn. Another good idea is to rent it with a neighbor or two that way everyone saves a buck and also provides their lawn with the proper care.

This brings me to my last tip of late fall lawn care, which is fertilization. Even though grass stops growing in early November, the roots continue to absorb and utilize nutrients, which is why dethatching can be really important depending on the current status of your lawn. A late fall fertilization of your lawn will help promote root growth so that your lawn produces and early green surface at the beginning of next spring.  Use a dry lawn fertilizer and be careful not to miss any spots. Some final suggestions for taking care of your lawn this fall will be to apply an herbicide to combat weed and fill in any bald spots that may be in your lawn. Pick up an all-in-one lawn fertilizer at your local hardware store for a quick and easy way to repair damaged spots in your lawn. Tis’ the season, give your lawn some attention now, and you will be rewarded with a healthy spring lawn later.