With colder weather on the horizon, now is the time to start getting your lawn ready for winter. Many homeowners focus on spring lawn maintenance – and caring for your lawn during that season is undoubtedly important – but taking care of your turf grass in fall will ensure a healthy lawn next year.
- Fertilizing: Winter is the season when grass puts most of its energy into developing healthy roots, which makes fall the perfect time to fertilize. Choose a fertilizer with 10 to 15 percent phosphorous – a key nutrient for root growth – and apply before the first frost.
- Seeding: The harsh heat and heavy rains of summer often leave lawns with bare or sparse patches, and fall is the time to seed your lawn and bring it back to health. Spread seed when the soil temperature is about 55 degrees, and then water your lawn every day until it germinates.
- Mulching: Fall is the perfect season for mulching for two reasons. The nutrients and warmth provided by mulch will help your grass cope with severe winter conditions. Also, fall leaves provide a multitude of no-cost mulch. All you have to do is run your lawn mower over fallen leaves and leave them right on your lawn.
- Aeration: Aerating your lawn gives new roots room to grow, and will allow grass to spread in spring without having to compete with weeds. Gas-powered aeration machines are widely available for rental, but hand-aerators – which look a bit like pitchforks with hollow tongs – are a less costly, if somewhat more labor-intensive method.