Fall tips for lawn and garden care
This fall, lay the groundwork for a lush green lawn and a healthy garden next season. Doing these tasks, helps your home look tidy, prevents damage and improves your home’s curb appeal. Make your life easier in the spring by being proactive now!
Give your grass some love
1) Remove the leaves
While autumn’s colourful leaves are a beauty to behold, they can be a grass killer. The leaves block light and trap moisture. Even when there’s none left on the trees, continue raking where they collect. If you don’t, come spring, the grass underneath will be a dead, soggy decaying mat.
2) Keep cutting, but at the correct height.
Grass continues to grow up to the first hard frost, so it needs regular cutting. Raise your mover to 21/2 or 3 inches (7 to 9 cm). If grass gets too long, it can mat and be vulnerable to fungi like snow mold. Cutting your grass to short can harm the root system and impede the lawn’s ability to withstand the cold and dryness of winter. Fall mowing will also chop up leaves which become soil-enhancing mulch.
3) Continue watering
Fall watering helps your lawn recover from summer stress and gain strength for the winter. Your lawn needs at least an inch of water a week. Use a rain gauge to keep track. By the end of October, you can wrap it up for the season.
4) Loosen the soil
Aeration prevents the soil from becoming compacted and covered with thatch. Thatch is a tightly intermingled layer of living and dead stems, leaves, and roots which accumulates between the layer of actively growing grass and the soil underneath. It blocks water, oxygen and nutrients from reaching the soil. When you aerate, you punch holes through the thatch. Experts recommend aerating before fertilizing since the holes allow the fertilizer to reach the roots.
5) Add fertilizer
Fertilizing helps protect grass roots from freezing and give the plant energy to bounce back in the spring. Ask an expert at a garden centre for advice about the best fertilizer blend for your local conditions. Know your average frost date to know the right time to fertilize.
RELATED READING: More fall grass advice
6) Spread seed
It’s important to overseed existing grass because a dense lawn is good protection against weeds. Fall is the optimal time to overseed because the ground is still warm, there’s more moisture, nights are cool, and the sun is not as hot. But the seeds must be in contact with the soil, kept moist until they germinate and be established enough before it gets too cold. Consult your local hardware store about the best type of seed broadcaster to use.
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