Now, as the days are growing cooler, is a good time to do some fall maintenance to insure your lawn is healthy and beautiful in the spring. Experts suggest the following fall maintenance steps for a healthy lawn year round.
Fall Mowing: If you raised the height of your lawn mower in summer to reduce heat stress to your lawn, return the mower deck to its normal mowing height (about 2 inches tall is best for most grasses) in fall. Cutting your lawn slightly shorter in autumn helps prevent the grass from matting down under leaves and snow.
Treat for weeds: Dandelions, clover, and other broadleaf weeds are easy to spot in spring, but fall is the best time to rid your yard of these pests. In autumn perennial lawn weeds transport food stores from leaves to roots. Apply a liquid broadleaf herbicide from September to early October. The plant carries it to the roots—and you get root kill on tough weeds.
Aerate: Aeration creates openings in a lawn to allow air, nutrients, and water to reach grass roots. Autumn is the time to aerate cool-season turf, including tall fescue, fine fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass. Hire a lawn service to aerate, or rent a DIY lawn aerator. You can always work with neighbors to share the cost of the aerator rental.
Sow grass seed: After aerating it’s a good idea to overseed. Grass seed easily can reach soil when you’ve created holes in the lawn. Be sure to choose the right type of grass seed for your growing conditions. Grab a hand spreader to overseed smaller areas, and a lawn spreader for larger ones. Water your new seed every day for 10 to 20 days until it germinates.
Fertilize: A late fall fertilization — before the first frost — helps your grass survive a harsh winter and encourages it to grow green and lush in spring. For Maryland residents the Fertilizer Use Act of 2011 stipulates volume and timing for lawn fertilizers. Fertilize in September and/or October and you’re well within the law.
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