Evenings are getting cooler, the leaves are just beginning to turn, and summer has officially ended for another year. However, this doesn’t mean caring for you lawn is done for the year, but the good news is that if you take proper steps now, you’ll save yourself work in the spring and have a lovely, luscious lawn to show for it.
Even though we’re putting our shorts and sandals away in favor of long pants and scarves, your grass still requires that summer loving—I’m talking about watering and mowing. Despite the cooler temperatures, your grass can still dry out. If there hasn’t been much rainfall, you should water your lawn one to two times a week with lots of days between watering. You’ll definitely want to do this in the morning as it gives your grass and soil the entire day to absorb the water, whereas at night when it’s coldest, you may get standing water which leads to fungus.
You should still be mowing your lawn, but you’ll find that the growth is slowing down, meaning you don’t need to do it as often as you did in the summer. 2’’ is the optimal length for fall grass in order for the plant to really benefit from your care. For your last couple of mows of the season, you may even want to adjust your lawnmower blade giving you grass that’s around 1¼’’ as shorter grass is more resilient to disease and the sun will no longer burn it as it could in the summer. Don’t go shorter than this though as the plant generates its food in the upper part of the grass blade.
While leaf piles are fun, most of us put off raking leaves until our lawn is full of them. I’m sorry to say that this can actually be quite detrimental to the health of your grass. Anytime you start to notice leaves accumulating, it’s time to rake. Make it a part of your weekly mowing routine. The benefit to this, apart from letting your lawn breathe and eliminating a potential for diseases to attack your grass, is that you’ll never find yourself with hours of raking to do. Thatch (essentially dead grass, leaves, etc.) will also be caught up in the leaves—another positive! The less debris on your lawn right now, the happier it will be.
This is also a prime time to aerate (making tiny holes in your lawn’s soil which allows nutrients, oxygen and water to reach the grassroots). A key thing to note when aerating is that whichever tool you use (there are hand and gas-powered options available) it should pull up plugs of soil rather than just making small holes in the ground. You can just leave the resulting small dirt plugs on your lawn as the elements will break these back down and return the soil to the lawn in an evenly distributed and organic way.
Were you waging a battle against dandelions and other weeks in your lawn this summer? You’re about to win the war! Weeds, like grass, are in major absorption mode right now trying to acquire the nutrients and resources necessary for winter. Any weed killer that you apply now will be deeply absorbed by the weeds resulting in an end to that plant, and there will be no new weeds seeding themselves anymore this year to take their place. You’ll really notice the results of this step in the spring when there are no returning weeds.
This is also an ideal time to lime your lawn. Nova Scotia soil tends to be quite acidic, which makes it challenging for healthy grass to grow. Liming your soil returns the pH balance to where it needs to be for optimal growth. Do this in the fall, and it should be very soon so that your lawn has about four weeks to absorb the lime before you fertilize it for the winter.
Yes, you’ll want to fertilize your lawn once more before you put it to bed for the winter. Grass is dormant in the winter, sort of like it’s hibernating. This means it needs to stock up on enough nutrients to see it through those long, cold months. Apply the fertilizer about four weeks after you’ve limed, otherwise the two have a chemical reaction that counteracts the benefits of both.
Do you have bald patches on your lawn? Now is the time to remedy them! Loosen the soil in those areas with some gentle raking then apply lawn repair mixture, a ready-to-use product which contains everything your new grass seeds will need (including the seeds themselves) to get a good start in life. Gently pat down the earth where you’ve applied the mixture and water it thoroughly every day or so for about two weeks. You’ll have a seamless sea of green come the spring!
Taking these steps with your lawn now will make your life much easier next spring and summer when you find that your lawn is noticeably healthier and lusher, and requires less ongoing maintenance to keep it looking so snazzy. Your lawn plays a major role in the curb appeal of your home, offers a great outdoor space to relax and play on, and is definitely worth the effort, so get ready to show your grass some autumn TLC!
Originally Published by The Chronicle Herald
Alexandra Kelter is a social media specialist with Central Home Improvements. Her column covers many aspects of home improvement, both indoor and outdoor, and will combine trending styles with practical applications all within realistic budgets. Kelter is also passionate about fashion, travel, living by the ocean and her bulldog.