The crisp weather of fall is upon us and football season is well under way. While the prospect of relaxing into a lazy Sunday schedule calls to many home owners weary from the routine of weekend lawn mowing, don’t sleep on essential lawn care and home maintenance tasks that will see you through the winter.
Autumn Lawn Care Basics
Fall is a great time for new grass seed to take root, so consider reseeding in selected areas. Reseeding also eliminates areas for weeds to grow in the spring. Fertilize your lawn one more time with a high nitrogen fertilizer to encourage root growth. Look for a lawn fertilizer labeled “winterizing.”
It’s also a good idea to rake leaves and debris off your lawn in the fall. Put some muscle into it and rake out any areas where heavy thatch has built up.
Cut your lawn one last time after it has stopped growing, but before the first snow. Adjust your mower setting to cut your lawn to about one inch. Lawn care experts suggest doing the final mowing with a bagger to pick up cut grass, stray leaves and other debris. It also leaves fewer places for Snowmold to develop.
Snowmold is one of the most common lawn diseases and typically it shows up in the spring. As the snow melts, it uncovers a lawn that has spent several months hidden under a cold blanket of white, with little air and no sun. In its cold, wet, and dark environment, Snowmold slowly forms, leaving blades of grass dead and brown. New grasses will sprout up behind it, but unless you vigorously rake it away, the new growth will be slow and thin — so it’s a good idea to overseed.
It also may be wise to aerate your lawn. Aerating your lawn is a great way to reduce thatch, loosen up compacted soils and pave the way for water and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass.
Even with meticulous care, lawns can thin out and lose color due to excessive thatch buildup, hard or compacted soils, or periods of high temperature, high humidity, or drought. According to The Lawn Institute, more than two-thirds of American lawns are growing on compacted soils. These soils slowly reduce the amount of oxygen contained in the soil, thus retarding the penetration of both water and nutrients. Aerating and overseeding is recognized by experts as the best treatment to control thatch, reduce compaction, fill-in bare spots and revitalize growth.
Here are a few tips from lawnboy.com to help you determine if you should aerate annually:
- If your lawn is more than seven years old, and rests on mostly clay soil.
- If your lawn is moderately to heavily used (walked or played on).
- If water collects on your lawn.
While lawn care is a hot maintenance item for home owners who value “curb appeal” or just want to escape the ire of neighborhood community associations, don’t forget there are plenty of other maintenance chores. Here’s a checklist of items you should address before the winter holiday season.
Supplied by the NAHB National Association of Home Builders http://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?genericContentID=125909