Fall can be a particularly beautiful and relaxing time of the year, but it also usually means making preparations for the long winter ahead. For most homeowners, that means handling details like cleaning the gutters, sealing the wood on the deck, and maybe even winterizing the roof to protect against damage.
What too many forget, however, is that fall is also a great time to put some thought into basic lawn care... especially if you want your grass to look its best when spring returns.
With that in mind, here are seven simple but effective tips for keeping your lawn healthy in the fall:
1. Mow your lawn a bit shorter than usual. Although you don't typically want to cut your grass too short – shorter grass leads to shorter roots in the soil – it's a good idea to trim a little farther in the fall. That way, your grass won't get bent and trampled under leaves, snow, and other winter weights.
2. Rake your lawn. Having fall leaves rustle around your yard can be beautiful, but leave them too long and they will start to decompose, building up an excess layer of thatch, which can trap water out of the soil and insects beneath it. Rake thoroughly to ensure that they don't build up too much.
3. Clean up trees and hedges. In the same way, you want to be careful that stray branches and leaves won't be falling onto your lawn through the winter, creating dead spots in the grass that you'll have to deal with when spring comes.
4. Get rid of weeds. While this is good advice year-round, it's especially important in the fall, when aggressive weeds can hang on longer than grass and overtake portions of your lawn. Weeding your lawn in the fall shouldn't be difficult, but it's important not to forget about it and lose pieces of your lawn through the winter.
5. Overseed your lawn. Even though it isn't likely that lots of grass will grow in your lawn during the fall, it helps to have these seeds already in place (and possibly taking root) when the warmer spring weather comes around. Seeding your lawn in the fall only takes a few minutes, and it's a great way to get out and enjoy the cooler weather.
6. Apply special fall lawn fertilizer. Because grass needs different kinds of nutrients as the weather turns colder, using special fall lawn fertilizer blends is a good idea. They don't cost much, but they can help preserve your lawn deeper into the year while having a boost after the winter.
7. Think ahead to next year. Did you have problems maintaining your lawn during the year? Are you thinking about different shapes and designs, or maybe different types of grass, for the future? The fall is a perfect time to start thinking about the future of your lawn – there is less care and upkeep, but your property won't yet be covered with snow.
Not only is it easy to care for your lawn in the fall, but it's a great way to get a jump start on the next growing season. Why not follow these tips and take the first steps towards a healthy lawn in the coming spring months?