Fall lawn and yard care prepares your lawn and yard for winter and helps reduce winter damage. What you do in the fall will determine how your lawn and yard will look in the spring. Also, good fall lawn & yard care habits will give more time to spend on other spring projects. Generally, fall lawn & yard care can be broken down into 2 lists – things that should be done, and things not to do.
Fertilize your lawn – this is a key fall lawn care element, but use a winterize fertilizer. They are usually clearly labelled. Fertilizing helps promote root development giving the lawn more ability to draw water from the soil and help survive the winter. Fertilizers also help improve soil structure, increase resistance to disease and balance nutrients, important to help your lawn withstand winter. Two or three applications can be applied between September and November. The last application, after top growth has stopped can be an all-mineral lawn fertilizer. Organic lawn fertilizers are less likely to burn your grass if over applied.
Weed – winter weeds will be germinating, getting ready for next year so apply a pre-emergent (weed control applied before weed seeds germinate) in August or September. Prevention will be better than having to deal with them in the spring.
Aerate – Aeration (removing soil cores from your lawn) improves water, air and nutrient movement in the soil. It also helps to make up for the spring and summer traffic that has increased compaction in the lawn. Aeration also helps to break down thatch (the buildup of organic material between soil and the bottom of the grass)
Seed – Select quality grass seeds that meet the specific needs of your lawn including amount of sun and foot traffic. If your lawn has become thin or doesn’t look too good, this is a good time to try another type of grass. Water after seeding.
The Last Mowing – to help your grass fend off weeds and to insulate your lawn against winter, leave the last cut at the highest setting on your mower, or leave the grass at least 3.75 cm (1 1/2 inches) high.
Divide perennials – fall is usually a good time to divide spring or summer blooming perennials – if they have become too crowded, or you want to split into smaller groups go plant elsewhere
Plant – fall is a good time to plant trees, shrubs, perennials, spring flowering bulbs, and ornamental grasses. Earlier fall is better giving them more time to develop roots. Water them each week.
Prune -when the leaves have fallen it is easier to see which branches need to or should be pruned (if they’re rubbing against other trees, fences, walls, overhand too much, etc.). Cut branches where they meet a larger branch. Don’t leave a stub because it won’t heal properly and is susceptible to disease.
Leaves – if you have a lot of leaves, mulch them and spread over your lawn. They can act like another fertilizer and help to insulate your lawn, and they won’t contribute to thatch.
There are a couple of things not to do. Don’t shear too much off of spring flowering shrubs because that will remove the buds that produce next year’s flowers. If you have to, cut off the branches that are too long at their base. Also, don’t fertilize trees and shrubs, because the new growth it produces won’t have time to get ready for winter – wait until spring. And wait until spring to cut back attractive perennials and ornamental grasses. Their stems trap leaves and snow around their base, which helps to protect them from freezing. They might also add some appeal to your winter yard.
Remember to turn off your water to the outside and clear the outside taps to avoid outside freezing and cracking of water fixtures.
Following the above guidelines will make your spring duties that much easier and give your lawn and yard a good head start in the spring, looking better that much longer.
If you have any questions about your lawn or yard card, call Ram @ 403-291-1051 and ask to speak to one of our Lawn Care Specialists
Ram Cleaning Services, Complete Cleaning and Maintenance Care since 1967
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