It’s true, you have certainly put in your time. You have spent each weekend, dutifully dedicating hours, toiling in the blistering sun, sweating for the whole neighborhood to see, tending to your precious lawn. Consequently, you may be starting to feel as though your sentence is nearing completion and you are due for a bit of a break from the strict routine of watering, mowing, edging, pruning, plucking, and the like. While the seasons may be changing, and the end of your weekly toil is in sight, it is not yet quite time to pack up the shed. By putting in a few extra weeks of work, you can keep your yard looking luscious well into the fall months, and even make your job a bit easier a few months down the line when you find yourself feeling the first few tinges of spring.
Keep on Mowin’
Your lawn doesn’t actually stop growing until winter rolls in and frost begins to settle. A general rule of (green) thumb, is that you can start to taper your mowing schedule when the temperatures begin to drop below 50 degrees during the day. For most areas, this happens in October or November, but in some parts of the country, you may need to haul out your mower well into December in order to keep your yard healthy and happy. If you put the mower away too soon, you run the risk of allowing your grass to get too long, which does’t allow sunlight to work it’s magic and can actually kill your grass. Not only will this result in a less-than-desirable look for the fall season, but can set you up for a lot more work and, likely, more money spent to revive your battered blades when spring rolls around.
Don’t Leave the Leaves
It is an iconic image, a sea of red and yellow leaves strewn about the yard, while the trees slowly release even more festive foliage, while the scent of pumpkin spice wafts through the air. Pretty? Yes. Good for your yard? That’s a hard no. Letting leaves collect can keep out the sun and trap in moisture, leaving your yard a dead, moldy mess. What is the solution? Let your kids and dogs jump around in them for a bit, allow your teens to get the perfect “fall selfie” with them and then rake them up and take them away. The quicker you can remove them from your grass, the better off both you and your lawn will be.
Think to The Future
The best way to ensure that your yard is the envy of the neighborhood (again) next year, is to begin preparations now. Over the spring and summer, your lawn has likely experienced some soil compaction, along with heat stress, both of which can cause thinning and browning of your grass both this and next season. The solution? Aeration. This process is relatively quick, inexpensive and can be done by either the professionals, or an eager DIYer. Check out this article for more information.
Another step that it would behoove the prudent gardener to take would be to fertilize. In fact, many experts would argue that fall is the most important time to add fertilizer in order to encourage a healthy, lush yard in the warmer months of next year. In order to get the most out of your efforts, you can purchase a sol testing kit (either from your local hardware store, or the wide world of the internet) and get a clear idea of what your soil may be lacking so that you can select and apply the best product for your specific needs. If you choose to aerate your lawn, apply your fertilizer soon after so that the nutrients can reach deep down into the soil. Your future self will be both thankful and impressed. Good job, you.