The stores are already bringing out the Christmas decorations, and we are shuffling our way into the holiday seasons. Thanksgiving is around the corner, and each day the weather turns just a little colder. As the leaves are falling, your lawns are beginning to become covered, and muddied. Even though in the fall you’ll spend less time outside in your yard, you can still take care of it through the winter, and prepare it to be healthy when spring hits again. Here’s your fall to-do list for a healthy lawn all year round.
Embrace the leaves: The trees shed, and the leaves will fall. It may be a family tradition to rake them into a big pile for your children to leap into. While fun, did you know you can use the leaves as a natural fertilizer? The task is simple. When dry, the leaves are easily cut and broken. By mulching them, or reducing them to small sizes and letting them scatter across the lawn, they will decompose among the grass blades and be natural nourishment for your lawn all winter. The easiest way to achieve this is to mow them! On a dry day, remove the bag from your lawn mower, and go across the lawn a couple times. This will chop and scatter the leaves.
Maim the moss: While leaves make a great fertilizer for your lawn, moss does not. Moss makes a stronger appearance after a drought, or for us in the Pacific Northwest, after a long, dry summer. You may have noticed it threatening your yard already. There are many other factors that can contribute to its growth, but you don’t want it to consume your lawn over the winter. Ditch raking the leaves, and rake the moss instead. If you see only a small patch, this may be sufficient as long as you get it at the roots. For most lawns, it’s wise to first apply a moss killer. Once the moss has browned or blackened, rake it out. If you wish to take it a step further, you can even sprinkle new grass seed in its place to encourage healthy growth.
Aerate, aerate, aerate: Aeration is one of the simplest, yet most effective activities to encourage healthy lawn growth. Once every two years, in the fall, take a garden fork and poke holes at four-inch intervals. This creates space for water and air to penetrate deep into the soil, providing nourishment for the grass at the roots.
Sow and grow: You may be surprised to learn that early Autumn is actually a great month for growing grass. The soil is still warm from the summer, yet moist from the days of rain. If you have bald spots, sprinkle some seeds to thicken it up. You may even consider sprinkling your entire lawn with a thin layer of seeds. The recommended rate for new lawns will be too dense for an already-populated lawn, but half that rate or less will give your lawn the extra boost it needs.
Although we think of winter as the season snow falls and dirt turns to mud, it doesn’t mean your lawn needs to be destroyed. Good lawn care now will keep it healthy until spring hits again, and give you a head start on a beautiful landscape all summer long. If you need help, or are more comfortable with a professional, you can find landscapers we recommend to do your lawn autumn maintenance for you! Visit us online at responsiblecontractors.com to find someone we trust to help your home.