Many homeowners look forward to the end of summer lawn mowing as autumn approaches, but every lawn needs proper winterizing to withstand the rigors of winter so it can return to its vibrant state in spring. To ready your lawn for freezing weather and blankets of snow…
- Fertilize: Check your soil's pH and nutrient composition and choose a proper slow-release, winterizing fertilizer to supplement its nutrition. Summer is harsh and grass needs to recover in fall, and extra nutrients will help promote healthy root growth.
- Aerate: After a summer of backyard play and barbeques, your lawn can be compacted and dense in fall. Autumn aeration and thatch removal will reduce compaction and allow air, water and nutrients to better reach grass roots.
- Weed: Weeds can thrive in conditions when grass is already dormant, so don't give up on weeding just because it's fall. Removing weeds right away will keep them from germinating in late fall or in spring before the grass begins to grow.
- Rake: Large piles of debris will choke and stifle grass and can lead to rot and other problems. If you only have a few leaves, mow them into mulch to leave on the lawn for easy decay, but remove the bulk of fallen leaves, branches and other debris before winter sets in.
- Water: Lawns need less water in autumn, but can still be watered until the ground begins to freeze or it becomes impractical to use a sprinkler system. Doing so will keep grass blades luxuriously hydrated and healthy, but reduce watering later in autumn as the grass goes dormant.
- Overseed: If your lawn is patchy or the grass is thin, fall is a great time to try overseeding to help fill in the gaps. Choose a cool season grass blend to match your existing lawn, and keep the seed damp until it germinates.
- Mow: Don't neglect mowing in fall just because grass isn't growing as quickly. Leaving grass slightly longer will encourage more root growth, but trim grass slightly shorter than typical the last time you mow, using a mulching mower to leave the clippings to decay into essential nutrients.
Even as you winterize your lawn, don't forget to winterize what you need to care for it as well. Prepare your mower and other garden tools for winter and flush out or winterize your sprinkler system so you will be prepared for a fantastic lawn when spring arrives.