Make your life easier in the spring by being proactive in the fall. Check out these tips for getting your lawn and garden ready for the colder months ahead.
Your lawn still needs water in autumn, even though the leaves are changing, the growing season is winding down and your grass isn’t growing as fast. Fall watering helps your lawn recover from summer stress and gain strength for the winter ahead. Also, if you fertilize in the fall, watering is necessary for the fertilizer to dissolve and soak into the ground where it’s needed. So don’t put your hoses or sprinklers away until the ground starts to freeze — your fall grass still needs the water.
If you want the best lawn in town, fertilize four times a year. But if you can only bother to fertilize once a year, you still have a great lawn if you only fertilize in the fall. Choose a fertilizer that’s labeled 4-1-2. (Those numbers refer to the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the fertilizer.) Better yet, ask an expert at a garden center for advice about the best fertilizer blend for your fall grass type and local soil conditions. Apply the fertilizer about three weeks before the last mowing of the season. Fertilizing in the fall provides energy and nutrients for the grassroots as they multiply in cooler weather before the grass goes dormant. The roots store food for the winter as well, which gives the grass an initial growth spurt when it emerges from dormancy in the spring.
First, rake and remove all of those dead leaves before the snow flies. Otherwise, they’ll be sodden mats in the spring and smother the sprouting grass below. (Plus, it’s lots easier to rake dry leaves!) Then, just this one time of the year, set your mower to cut your grass short, at 1-1/2 or 2-inches. In cold climates, it will reduce the chance of snow mold forming. And tall grass blades won’t lie down and smother the new grass next spring.
There are many other ways to treat and manage your lawn through a successful fall and winter season, these are just a few of the more common and easy to do yourself activities that show great results.