How to Take Care of Lawn in Autumn: 5 Basic Steps
A green and well-groomed lawn is the pride of any gardener. It is a mistake to think that you should only take care of it in the warm months. For a lawn to delight you with its freshness, you need to take care of it throughout the year. In this article, we will talk about autumn care and its features.
1. Debris Removal
In the autumn, a large amount of a variety of debris accumulates on the lawn. These are the grass clippings, leaves that fall from trees and bushes, and other stuff. You shouldn't leave all this on the ground for the winter. Modern rakes of different shapes or the best backpack blowers, which are ideal for large areas, will help you clean a wide variety of debris. High humidity due to autumn rains, combined with warm days, can cause organic waste to rot right on your lawn. Such a substrate is an ideal environment for different diseases that can damage or even kill the grass.
Professionals do not recommend cleaning after heavy rains, as the ground becomes too soft. There is always a chance of damaging the lawn and the root system of plants and leaving too deep marks, which will not be so easy to fix later.
2. Last Mowing
Throughout the warm season, you have to take care of your lawn. One of the most troublesome activities is lawn mowing. It has to be carried out every 7-10 days, depending on the temperature of the soil, its composition, and humidity.
The closer the winter, the colder the air and, therefore, the soil. The growth rate is significantly reduced. And some lawn owners think that they shouldn't mow the lawn, stopping to pay enough attention to it. It is a severe mistake. The grass continues to grow, though slowly. As a result, it grows back, withers from the first cold weather, and lies on the ground, covering it as a thick carpet. In the spring, wilted grass can become an obstacle for young shoots, significantly reducing their growth rate.
There is no definite answer to when to carry out the last mowing since, in this matter, everything depends on local weather conditions. Be careful with the grass and trim when it is over 4 inches. Don't worry if you don't pick the right date; it is better to leave the lawn for the cold months shorter than necessary rather than longer.
3. Fertilizing and Watering
When the last lawn mow of the year is complete, it's time to seriously think about how the grass will survive the winter safely. For it, it needs nutrients. So, you need to apply the last portion of fertilizer to the soil. If you regularly used nitrogen tools to stimulate growth before August, ensure the density of the grass, now completely abandon them as the grass no longer needs to grow.
In mid-September - mid-October (depending on the region), try to apply potash and phosphate fertilizers. They ensure the development of a robust root system, which means a quick start in the spring. After treatment, experts recommend pouring plenty of water over the lawn to make the granules dissolve completely.
By the way, it is better to refuse regular watering. Days are no longer that hot, and they don't draw soil moisture too fast. Therefore, the ground remains wet for a long time, leading to the rotting of the root system. Certain areas of the lawn may remain without grass.
Don't worry about drying out the lawn. Daily temperature fluctuations usually provide large dew formation, which will be quite enough for the grass. Of course, if the temperature suddenly rises above 80°F in the shade, you can water your lawn a bit. But it happens very rarely.
In general, aeration should be done several times a year. But if usually its main purpose is to ensure the flow of oxygen to the roots, then autumn aeration has a different meaning. Frequent and cold rains often turn into snowfall accompanied by rapid cooling.
If the turf does not have any holes, water accumulates on the surface, forming puddles. When frozen, it can not only damage the surface but also destroy the grass. If you carry out aeration, the water will go into the soil without causing the slightest harm to your lawn.
Aeration can be done with the following tools:
Wait for a rainless day when the soil is dry, and treat the entire area. If you use a pitchfork, stick it a shallow depth (3-4 inches) through each step. This process does not require a lot of physical activity from you, and it does not take too much time either, especially if you use modern devices. Experts recommend carrying out aeration in mid-late September.
5. Lawn Repair
Of course, significant repairs to the lawn, such as sowing bald patches, should be carried out in the spring. The very first frost can kill a young and weak growth, canceling all your efforts. However, in the autumn, when getting ready for wintering, it is worth leveling the lawn. If you find small dents or pits, they should be covered with a special mixture of coarse river sand and rotten leaves. After filling all the grooves with this mix, tamp it tightly so that the wind and rain can't blow or wash it away.
Moreover, it will be useful to scatter a small amount of a mixture of crushed peat and dry compost throughout the lawn. It will be very beneficial for the soil depleted during the summer season: its fertility will increase, and next year you are guaranteed to get a carpet of thick emerald grass.
Don't Forget About Winter Care
When the autumn work is done, do not stop caring for the lawn. Even during the winter months, it needs your attention. You should spread the snow evenly over the ground and break up the ice crust that forms after thaws. It is undesirable to step on the lawn until the layer of snow does not reach 4-6 inches, as it can negatively affect the quality of the vegetation.
As you can see, preparing the grass for the winter is not as easy as it might seem at first glance. But performing all the work described above and following all the recommendations, you can be sure that in the spring, your lawn will quickly turn green and delight you with a magnificent look.