Many homeowners start to think of their lawn care responsibilities are over for the season when the hot summer weather goes away. In reality, your lawn continues to need regular maintenance up through the first snow of winter. Caring for your lawn throughout the fall helps to ensure that your grass is strong enough to last through the winter without injury. These tips will help you ensure that your grass is healthy and strong for the cold winter weather.
Start Cutting Your Grass Lower
It's a good idea to start off the winter with your grass at a slightly shorter length than it was over the summer. This way, if the grass becomes matted and damp over the winter, it will be less likely to develop a lawn fungus. To ensure that your grass will be slightly shorter than normal at the beginning of winter, start lowering the blades on your lawn mower. If you have a lawn care service, they should do this automatically for you, but be sure to check.
Mow More Frequently, If Necessary
If your area gets more rain in the fall than over the summer, you may need to increase the frequency with which you mow the lawn. If necessary, talk to your lawn care service about increasing the frequency of their visits.
Mulch or Rake the Leaves
Some people believe that decomposing leaves left on the lawn can supply nutrients to the grass. Unfortunately, decomposing leaves form a thick, weighted layer that can deprive your grass of light and oxygen. To avoid problems, rake dead leaves and dispose of them in your compost pile. If you have a lawn mowing service, make sure that their lawn mowers have mulching capability to shred the leaves, or have your lawn mowing service rake leaves before mowing your grass.
Fall is the most important time of year to fertilize your lawn. Fertilizing in fall helps your grass develop strong, healthy roots before the the warm weather in spring. All types of grass--cool and warm weather grass--should be fertilized in the fall. The trick to fertilizing at this time of year is to do it early enough in the season that it can help the grass bulk up its roots for the coming winter. Fertilizing too late in the fall means that your grass won't get the benefit of the fertilizer. To keep to the right schedule, plan to fertilize around Halloween, or speak to your lawn mowing service to ensure that they plan to fertilize around that time.
Following these tips, you should be able to care for your lawn and successfully help it to survive the long, cold winter. More information on lawn care can be found here.