With cooler weather on the horizon, it’s a great time to give your lawn the care it needs to stay healthy! Summer’s heat and foot traffic can really take its toll on your yard. By putting in some extra effort this fall, your lawn and gardens will be in great shape when warm temperatures return next spring! Here are some tips to help you clean up and revitalize your lawn this fall to prepare it for the dormant winter season.
Follow Best Maintenance Practices for Your Specific Grass Species
Grass comes in a variety of different species which have different maintenance requirements. Depending on your location, there are cool-season grasses (such as Kentucky bluegrass and fescue) as well as warm-season grasses (Bermuda and big bluestem). It’s important to determine the species of your grass if you haven’t already – you can really optimize the care you give to your lawn and help it stay healthy all year long. Speak with your local extension office or lawn care company to learn more about specific grass varieties and the best ways to care for them.
Feed Your Lawn with Fertilizer
Applying the right amount of fertilizer ensures that the grass has enough nutrients to survive the sometimes harsh Mid-Atlantic winter. To fertilize this fall, you’ll want a product with a NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) ratio of 3-1-2, although this may vary slightly. Apply fertilizer at a ratio of one pound per one thousand square feet of your lawn. Keep in mind that over-fertilizing can damage your yard.
Aerate and Dethatch
Thatch build-up is detrimental to your lawn and one of the most forgotten parts of lawn care. Thatch is a layer of plant debris that lies between the soil and blades of grass. If left untreated, thatch will make it difficult for water, air, sunlight and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass, as well as create an environment that encourages pests and disease. For small levels of thatch buildup, raking the surface should be sufficient; however, you’ll most likely need to perform a core aeration as well. This is more thorough and involves removing entire plugs of soil, as well as potentially adding organic material to spur growth. A lawn care professional can provide this deep care to your yard if it should need it. The right equipment is also readily available to rent should you wish to DIY!
Weed and Clean
Fall is the best time of year to control the growth and spread of weeds. From a broad spectrum weed preventer for your lawn, to landscape fabric and fresh mulch for your garden beds, there are a variety of solutions available to keep the weeds from overtaking your green space. Fall is a great time to assess your garden beds, as well. Are there any plants that need winter protection? You’ll want to address those concerns now before a frost. If you have garden beds, consider edging the perimeter and removing leaves and other plant debris. Having cleaned-up in the fall, you’ll have a jump start in the spring!
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