Most homeowners assume that at the end of the summer, their grass care duties are over. Nothing could be more wrong. The truth is, fall is the time when your lawn needs you the most. That’s the best time to get it ready for spring. Follow these five steps and you’ll have the healthiest lawn you’ve ever had next spring when things start greening up again.
1. Water: If it’s been a dry fall, make sure the soil is moist going into winter. It’s very stressful for the root system to go for months in bone-dry soil. Even when it’s cool, the soil is still losing moisture to the atmosphere, just not as quickly as it does when it’s hot.
2. Rake: Don’t leave dead leaves on your lawn. They’ll only promote mold and smother the grass when it’s trying to get started next spring. Plus, it’s much easier to rake them up in the fall when they’re dry.
3. Aerate: If you have heavy soil, fall is the time to aerate. Do it when the soil is moist and before you fertilize. Aerating loosens the soil, which allows roots to spread and oxygen to penetrate.
4. Fertilize: Even though the lawn is beginning to turn brown, the roots are hard at work storing nutrients for the winter and the following growing year. Fall is the single most important time to fertilize.
5. Mow: For the last cutting of the season, set your mower to about 1-1/2 in. and cut the grass short. That will help prevent snow mold in your yard.
— Travis Larson, Senior Editor
Tips on achieving the perfect lawn: