The fall season is the perfect time to give your lawn the care it needs so it can make it through the cooler winter months. It may seem strange to think about fall lawn care knowing it’ll be going dormant in winter, but it’s key for a healthy lawn come spring. Here are some quick and simple lawn maintenance tasks you can do this season that will keep your lawn looking great next spring.
Keep mowing and watering
Don’t store your lawnmower just yet. Since grass typically continues to grow until the first hard frost in winter, you’ll still need to mow your lawn. Continue to mow your lawn at a 2 ½ to 3-inch height until it stops growing.
You’ll also want to keep watering your lawn. It’s true that nature will take care of itself, but unfortunately, we haven’t been able to depend on our usual winter rains in Northern California. There may not be enough moisture to keep the grass’s roots hydrated during the winter. If your lawn doesn’t get at least an inch of moisture per week (you can check that with a rain gauge), you should continue watering.
Raking the leaves is never fun (though kids and animals love jumping into piles afterward) and it’s tempting to let them lay on the ground during the fall. You figure they’ll break down and become compost. However, it’s important to remove the leaves before they turn into a soggy mess. Once leaves become wet from rain or morning dew, they can stick together and create an impenetrable layer that blocks the sunlight and become a breeding ground for fungal diseases and bugs.
Aerate the soil
Aerating the soil allows oxygen, water, and fertilizer to better reach the roots. Use a power aerator to pull out plugs of soil from your lawn. Don’t worry: your lawn may look like a mess for a few days, but the plugs will dissolve. Its best to aerate before fertilizing your lawn.
Add fertilizer for future growth
If you fertilize your lawn once a year, fall is the best time. Applying fertilizer to your lawn during the fall will give your grass essential nutrients that will allow the roots to grow deeper and keep more nutrients on reserve for a healthier start in spring.
Fill in bare spots
The summer is rough on grass: between the hot weather, bright sun, and the usual wear and tear of using our lawns. Fill any bare spots with more seed, making sure they come in contact with the soil and keep the surface moist to improve the chances of germination.
These fall lawn care tips will help you take care of your lawn so you can enjoy it next spring.