Prepare for the Fall

Prepare for the Fall

As summer is drawing to a close, many homeowners mistakenly believe that their lawn care duties are over. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Fall is actually the time when your lawn needs you the most- it’s the best time to prepare for the spring.

Consider the following 7 tips to ensure that you have a healthy lawn when spring comes around and things start getting green once again.

If you’re in or near Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, contact Hambleton Services, Inc. We will be happy to come out to your property and do a free assessment at any time.

7 Tips to Prepare Your Lawn for the Fall

Below are 7 ways to prepare your lawn for the fall and winter.

Remove Leaves

While the autumn leaves may look beautiful and can be fun to play in, they’re not good for your lawn. They trap moisture and block light, which can be detrimental to the health of your lawn.

Therefore, as the leaves fall, take the time to rake or blow them away as often as possible. Even when the trees are bare, you’ll want to continue clearing out the corners of your yard, where the winds pile the leaves up. If you don’t do this, the grass underneath those piles will be dead when spring comes around.

Cut to the correct height

You may think the growing season is over, but don’t put your mower away just yet. The grass will continue to grow until the first hard freeze. Therefore, you’ll need to cut it regularly to keep it at 2.5 to 3 inches. If you let it get too high, it will be vulnerable to fungi, such as snow mold.

Be careful not to cut it too short because that will inhibit the root system. Root depth is directly related to height. This will hinder the lawn’s ability to withstand the dryness and cold that comes with winter temperatures. Additionally, regularly mowing your lawn helps to mulch up those leaves so that you don’t have to worry about raking them up.

Don’t neglect watering

As the weather begins to cool, many homeowners stop watering their lawn. They assume that nature will take care of it. It is true that fall does bring more rain and dew, and less evaporation, it’s not likely going to be enough to keep the roots hydrated and healthy into the winter months.

Your lawn needs to be getting at least 1 inch of water every week. You can use a rain gauge to keep track of it. If your lawn isn’t getting enough water, keep your irrigation system or sprinklers running until the beginning of November. At that point, you’ll want to disconnect your hoses or flush your irrigation system to keep from having to deal with frozen spigots and pipes.

Loosen soil

You should be aerating your lawn at least once every couple of years. This will keep the soil from becoming too compacted and covered with debris including roots and stems, which block nutrients, water, and oxygen from getting into the soil.

You can use a core aerator to correct these issues. It punches holes into the grass and pulls up soil plugs. If you’re getting ready to fertilize your lawn, it’s a good idea to aerate it first. This will allow the fertilizer to get to the roots of the grass where it will be most beneficial. 

Fertilize your lawn

As mentioned, the roots of your grass need water to get through the winter months. In addition, it’s a good idea to fertilize your lawn as well. The fertilizer will keep the roots from freezing and provide the plant with the energy it needs to come back when spring comes around. The nitrogen in the fertilizer combined with chlorophyll produce plant sugars, which help the plant.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to apply a slow-release granular fertilizer the late fall. It should be a 24-0-10 mix, which indicates the percentage by weight of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Your plants need potassium because it encourages roots to grow, protects the plant from disease, helps them tolerate a drought, and also helps them resist cold.

However, do not apply fertilizer close to waterways because the fertilizer could cause contamination.

Spread grass seed

If your lawn is dense, it discourages the growth of weeds. Therefore, it’s important to overseed your lawn. This will fill in bare/thin spots and allow you to bring in grass that is drought-tolerant and resilient.

According to experts, fall is the best time to seed because nights are cool, the sun doesn’t get as hot during the day, there’s still plenty of moisture, and the ground is still fairly warm. However, seeding is extremely challenging.

You can’t just toss out seed and expect it to take. The seed needs to be directly on the soil, kept moist until germination, and be established before the first frost.

Timing is everything

When it comes to preparing your lawn for fall, each of these has to be done at the most appropriate time. If not, you’re wasting your time. For example, if you seed too late, the seedlings won’t be strong enough to survive. If you fertilize too early, the tender grass will be killed by the cold. If you wait too late to fertilize, the roots won’t be able to absorb the nutrients.

Hire a Professional Lawn Service

If these tasks are too much for you as a homeowner- don’t get too worked up. The professionals at Hambleton Services, Inc. are here to help. We serve Lake Junaluska and the surrounding areas. We offer a variety of lawn care services and will be happy to create a personalized plan to keep your lawn looking beautiful and come back more vibrant than ever in the spring.

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