Supposedly, one of the few reasons to celebrate the end of summer is that you can finally stop caring about what your lawn looks like. But we regret to inform you that you can’t give up on your grass just yet. In fact, some of the work is more effective (and therefore more cost-effective) when done now than at any other time of year. Here are a few steps to take this fall to make sure you get a healthy happy lawn next spring. 1. Keep it wet Since the fall months usually have less precipitation than the summer months, it’s just as important to water your lawn now it is to do it in June, July, or August. Especially since the grass is thirsting for moisture to help it survive the winter. Make sure that whatever watering you do gets to the soil, rather than evaporating in to the air. First, water after dark, rather than in the middle of the day. Stick to watering during calm periods, rather than windy ones, and try to keep the sprinkler’s spray angle as close to the ground as possible. 2. Poke some holes That watering will be even more successful if you aerate your law, and this time of the year is optimal. You can rent a machine and do it yourself, but most lawn care services will do it for not much more money and 100% less work than if you were to do it yourself.
While you’ve got the lawn care service at your place, see if they will “de-thatch” the accumulated dead grass and debris that has built up at the base of your grass over the past few months (or years). Getting rid of a thick layer of thatch will allow more water, air, and nutrients to reach the soil.
Weed and feed
Speaking of nutrients, this time of year as also the best time to fertilize the grass you want and apply a weed-killer to what you would like to exterminate. In preparation for winter, the grass and weeds are in “absorption” mode, and therefore your spreading efforts are more likely to be effective. Plus, since consumer demand is likely to be lower for these products than it is in the spring, the prices might be cheaper, too.
You can certainly use this opportunity to replant any bare spots in your lawn, but don’t let the herbicide get near the new grass.
Rake up the leaves
It’s very tempting to let the leaves fall on your lawn, and then let nature take its course instead of raking them up.
But if you care about your grass, you’ll get the leaves, pine needles, and other detritus off of your lawn as soon as possible. If it gets wet and freezes on top of the grass over the winter, it can kill whatever is underneath.
The leaves may be easier to rake and bag if you first mulch them up with your mower, and then rake in to a bag. Save the results for mulching around plants and flower beds, or contact your city or county website for other disposal options.
If you live in Eau Claire County, you can’t drop off your yard waste at either of the county-operated brush disposal sites. But check with your waste hauler. During November 2nd through the 6th you may be able to get your waste hauler to take away whatever you’ve raked up. To qualify for all yard waste must be in paper or biodegradable plastic bags.
Don’t put away the mower yet
Last but not least, if you stop mowing now and your grass gets too long, it can mat down and smother the soil. So keep mowing until November, or the snow flies (whichever comes first).
For more information on what to do to your lawn and when to do it, visit the University of Wisconsin Extension “Wisconsin Lawn Care Calendar” at tinyurl.com/wilawn.
As a reminder, feel free to send your question to [email protected] Your information will remain confidential, and no, we won’t come over and help you with your lawn.