How Can I Prep My Lawn & Garden for the Fall?

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Why is Fall Lawn & Garden Care Important?

When homeowners think of lawn care, they think of spring and summer. However, the best lawns in the spring are brought about by the hard work done in the fall. How can you get a step ahead next spring by caring for your lawn this fall?

 

John Deere Riding Lawn Mower

 

How long should I keep mowing my lawn in the fall?

Although grass growth typically slows down in the fall, mowing it is still necessary. Try keeping the grass length at approximately 2 ½ - 3 inches in height. If the grass gets too long, it could grow fungi like snow mold. On the other hand, if the grass is too short, it could hurt the roots that allow it to withstand the cold and dry winter season.

The grass should continue growing right up until daytime temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. On average, this happens around late October to early November. The last mowing of the season should be right before the first frost. The grass should be cut to the ideal height of 2 ½ inches. This will guarantee the best success of the lawn throughout the winter season.

 

Should I still water my lawn in the fall?

Proper fall lawn care calls for watering as needed. It is true that fall weather has cool temperatures and dewy moisture but fall still has dry times. Make sure your lawn is receiving at least one inch of water per week. Irrigation systems can be used throughout the fall season but are recommended to be shut down by the end of October. If they are not disconnected and flushed, they could get frozen by the cold temperatures.

 

Should I aerate my lawn in the fall?

Aeration is the process of removing soil plugs to combat thatch, which is a thick layer of roots, debris, and stems. By punching holes and removing soil, it relieves the compacted soil and allows for water, oxygen, and nutrients to reach the grassroots once again.

This process should be done every couple of years during the fall season. Fall is the optimal time for aeration because weeds are less likely to utilize the new space. Aeration becomes especially useful when it is followed up by fertilization.

 

When is the best time of the year to fertilize my lawn?

It is a common misconception that springtime is the best time to fertilize grass. The actual optimal season for fertilizing is in the fall. More specifically, 2-3 weeks before the first frost or approximately mid-October is when lawn fertilizer should be applied. Grass needs the proper nutrients in the fall to get through the winter and bounce back in the spring.

What steps should be taken for the greatest fertilization success? First, start with aerating the lawn. This allows the nutrients to reach the grass roots more easily. Then, mow the grass right before fertilizing, and leave some grass clippings for the roots. Make sure the lawn is dry when you fertilize and will stay dry for a couple of days. This will ensure that the fertilizer will not run off once you apply it.

Fertilizer can be spread using a crank-style broadcast spreader or a walk-behind drop spreader. The walk-behind drop spreader is a longer process, but it allows for a more even spread of the fertilizer.

 

What else should I be doing in the fall to care for my lawn?

While most people think the spring and summer are the busiest times for lawn care, keeping the lawn nice and prepping it for the winter season takes effort in the fall.

Colorful fallen leaves are a trademark of fall that many enjoy. However, if left unchecked, they could damage lawns. They not only block sunlight, but they also trap moisture that can result in fungi. Raking at least once a week can prevent these problems.

Although weeds are mainly seen in the spring and summer months, the proper time for using weed killer is in the fall. Weeds are energy suckers, so it is vital to kill them in the fall to prevent their continued growth in the spring. Many herbicides are recommended to be applied early-to-mid fall. This ensures the temperature will be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lastly, autumn is the time to fill in bare spots. Summer often leaves some sections of the lawn bald or burned, and it is important to address those problem areas in the fall. One way to do this is by using a lawn repair mixture to heal the damage. Seeding works best in the fall due to the temperature still being warm, but not too hot. After planting more seeds, it is important to keep the area watered.

 

When should I start to winterize my equipment?

After the last mow of the fall season, it is important to winterize the lawn equipment. By doing so, the equipment will be ready for immediate use come springtime. Follow these steps to properly winterize a lawn mower:

  • Sharpen the blades
  • Remove the fuel, battery, and spark plug
  • Change the oil
  • Scrape the mowing deck
  • Clean or replace filters
  • Inspect for damage

 

Should I have my equipment serviced before the winter?

Off-season inspections ensure that lawn care equipment will be ready for the next year. By planning ahead, crucial time and money can be saved during the peak mowing season.

Koenig Equipment offers inspections and repairs to keep your lawn care equipment at peak performance. Discover the available lawn & garden equipment service options and keep your lawn mower running smoothly. Learn more here.

To schedule your service appointment, call your local Koenig Equipment location or schedule service online.

 

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