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Top Autumn Lawn Maintaining Tips
Top Autumn Lawn Maintaining Tips
Autumn is a beautiful time of the year to be outdoors, with the vibrant colours of changing leaves, and refreshing, cooler days and nights. It’s also a good time to prepare your lawn for the cold winter months ahead. Pat Noble Lumber is ready to help you with advice and tips to give your lawn a head start for next spring.
Lawn care experts recommend three main tasks in autumn to ensure a healthier lawn over the winter:
- Mow your lawn a little shorter for the final cut
- Mulch leaves to add nutrients to your lawn
- Fertilize to replenish nutrients and prepare for the cold
Let’s unpack how you can make the most of them.
1. Mow your lawn a little shorter for the final cut
In summer you should let your grass grow longer before you cut it and remove no more than one third of the grass shoot, about 3” to 3.5”. Longer grass absorbs more moisture from the soil and lowers the chance of evaporation, which leads to a healthier, greener lawn.
But during the cooler months of autumn, start cutting your lawn one notch lower. Keep your mower’s blade sharp, and leave grass clippings in place for added nitrogen to promote healthy growth.
2. Mulch leaves to add nutrients to your lawn
Make the most of all those autumn leaves and mulch them with your lawnmower to give your lawn nutrition for a healthier lawn next spring.
If you’re planning on getting a new lawnmower, a mulching mower is a big help with its specially designed deck and blade. It cuts grass clippings and leaves into tiny particles, and speeds up the decomposition process without contributing to thatch buildup.
Mulching leaves instead of raking them will save time too. However, if you have a never-ending supply of leaves, you can still add them to your compost or curbside yard waste collection before the final cut.
3. Fertilize to replenish nutrients and prepare for the cold
Turf experts recommend fertilizing your lawn in the fall to make sure it has enough nutrition to get through the tough winter months.
Be aware of your area’s growing zone and the average temperatures to calculate the best time to fertilize your lawn. Make sure you apply fertilizer before the first frost, usually in late September to mid-November.
Lawn fertilizers typically contain three main nutrients, represented by numbers on the label. Nitrogen, the first number, is responsible for greening the turf. Phosphorus, the second number, strengthens the roots, and the third number is for potassium, which ensures an overall thick and healthy turf.
Fertilizer with a higher potassium level will do a better job of protecting your lawn in the winter. Choose a fertilizer with slow-release nitrogen to help your grass stay strong and healthy during the freezing winter temperatures.
You’ll get the best results by watering your lawn right after you apply the fertilizer.
Other Helpful Autumn Lawn Maintenance Tips
- Change your watering schedule – Hopefully you have been able to water your lawn thoroughly on a regular basis in summer to keep the roots healthy, strong and growing. You won’t need to water your lawn as much in autumn. Taper watering from about one inch of water per week until the temperature drops, and then water every ten days until the first frost.
- Get rid of the bald patches – If your lawn has a few bald or thinning patches, you can try overseeding in early September or about 45 days before the first estimated frost, to benefit from the last few weeks of the growing season.
- Keep the weeds away – When weeds keep popping up, spot treat them with a weed control product or pry them out with a weeding tool. Remember not to apply weed control to freshly reseeded areas. Continue to keep an eye out for new weeds in your lawn and remove them to prevent an explosion of weeds in the spring.
- Be mindful of thatch – Thatch is a buildup of undecomposed plant material, grass clippings and leaves between the soil and grass. If your lawn has thatch that is more than a half inch thick, then water and nutrients won’t be able to reach the roots. You can get rid of thatch with a rake or a tool specifically designed for dethatching.
- Aerate – Aerating your lawn in autumn will ensure that air, water and nutrients will reach the root system. The plugs of soil will break down and provide nutrients to the soil. You can hire a lawn maintenance technician, or rent an aerator. Ask your neighbours if they want to aerate their lawns and share the rental cost.
- Learn how balanced your soil is – If, after your best efforts, your lawn is still not looking healthy, it’s a good idea to test your soil’s PH level. You can send a soil sample to a testing service, or do it yourself with a soil testing kit. This will reveal your soil’s nutrient composition and tell you what it needs to be balanced and healthy.
There is still time to make sure your lawn is strong, healthy and weed free before the winter. If you need any further advice, our team at Pat Noble Lumber will be happy to help.
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