It’s September and fall’s cooler weather is just around the corner. You’ve spent the summer taking care of your lawn – in between beach days, BBQ parties and soaking up that summer sun of course. Keep that great lawn care momentum through the fall to ensure your lawn makes it through the winter.
Don’t let all that summertime effort go to waste!
Winter can do a number on your lawn. Ill prepared lawns are susceptible to frost, snow and cold weather. If your grass is too short, the roots won’t get enough water. If your soil is too hard-packed, the frozen ground will suffocate your grass.
Luckily, all you need to do to prepare your lawn is modify your summer schedule just a little bit. Here are five very easy things you should do for your fall lawn care regime.
Knowing when to start winterizing your lawn can be tricky. Lawn care experts like our team at A Green 365 can help you with everything from planning your lawn care to taking care of your lawn for you. Keep reading for our tips or contact us to see how we can help.
Water and irrigate only if your lawn needs it
Drought season is (hopefully) over. This means you don’t have to stress over whether your grass is suffering from heat stress. The increasingly cooler weather signals to your grass that it’s time to go dormant; when plants go dormant, they suck up less water and nutrients. Both these facts mean that you can dial back your watering frequency.
Water only when your lawn needs it.
Throughout the fall, your lawn only needs about 1” of water per week. This is about one good rainfall. Use a rain gauge for an accurate idea of how much precipitation you’ve had.
If you use an automated irrigation system (i.e., One on a timer or schedule), change the frequency to once every two weeks. Don’t forget to turn it off if your area has received a lot of rainfall!
Monitor your lawn’s water absorption throughout the fall. If the water is puddling instead of being absorbed, you might need to aerate. If your soil is packed too hard in the fall, that could damage the roots in the winter when it freezes. September is a good time to aerate; if you wait too long into the fall, it’ll get too cold to aerate properly.
Not sure if you need to aerate? Read our Lawn Aeration 101 article to learn all the signs.
Mow once every two weeks
Spring and early summer are grass’s prime growing times. You’ll probably find yourself pulling out the lawnmower once a week, at least, and still feel like your grass is too long.
It’s the complete opposite in the fall and winter. Grass grows a lot slower when it’s dormant. You’ll probably only need to mow once every two weeks at most… and you may find you can go three weeks between mows.
You’ll want to let your grass grow longer through the fall. Longer blades mean longer roots, and longer roots mean healthier lawns. You’ll want to take off only the top 1/3 of the blades at the most.
Less, if you can (and your homeowner’s association won’t mind).
Finally, midday is the best time of day to mow your lawn in the fall. This is when your lawn is the least stressed.
Pro tip: switch up your mowing pattern, so you don’t leave wheel ruts in the ground.
You might be tempted to fertilize in the fall. Your grass is growing slower, and it might be looking a little dry or sparse.
Don’t give in to that temptation!
Fertilizer should only be used in the spring, at the start of the growing season. That’s because fertilizer encourages grass to “wake up” and grow. Right now. Grass needs warm weather to stay healthy, so when it wakes up in the cold, it freezes and dies.
Let your grass go dormant. Trust that you’ve prepared it for the cold weather. You’ll see it again in the spring!
One additional note! There are products called “winterizer fertilizer” on the market. It’s best to consult an expert before you use these products as your lawn most likely doesn’t need it.
Clear your lawn of debris
There are some who say that raking is a waste of time; foliage is good for your lawn! They’re half right. Leaves and foliage do provide naturally created nutrients to your soil… but leaving them lying on your lawn runs the risk of suffocating your grass.
So, add “rake the lawn” to your fall lawn care schedule. It’s the only need task added, and since you’ve reduced the number of times you mow, you know you’ll have time!
To take advantage of the nutrient-rich leaves, rake up all the foliage and shred it. Scatter the shredded remains like mulch in a controlled fashion. This means you can reap all the benefits of fall’s iconic imagery AND ensure your lawn will come out of hibernation stronger than ever.
Need help setting up your fall lawn care regime? Call A Green 365!
Our A Green 365 Lawn and Pest Solutions, LLC experts successfully maintain lawns all year long. We can provide you with full-service lawn care, winterize your lawn or provide a consultation to help you care for your lawn throughout the year.
We serve the following locations near our Spring Hill, FL, and Lutz, FL offices:
- Brooksville, FL
- Homosassa FL
- Land O’ Lakes FL
- New Port Richey FL
- Port Richey FL
- Trinity FL
- Wesley Chapel FL
- Hernando Beach, FL
- Hudson FL
- Odessa FL
- San Antonio FL
- Tampa FL
- Weeki Wachee, FL