Days are starting to cool down and nights are feeling chilly. Leaves are starting to change colors and pile up on the ground. I kind of feel burnt out with my yard but I do not want to miss anything to put it to bed properly for the winter and have a nice lawn come spring. What do I need to do?

The single most important thing to do is to put down a liberal application of a fall granular fertilizer application. This can be found about anywhere that sells fertilizer and should contain a good amount of potassium/potash. This is the third number on the bag. As most self-use bags of fertilizer are primarily sand and built for “dummies” we recommend laying down twice the recommended amount. Do one application up and down across each lawn and a second side to side. This will put down more product and help to distribute it more evenly. Then make sure it gets water for at least a couple of weeks so that it can break down and have time to be absorbed by the grass before you shut your sprinklers off for the year.

The second most important item is to keep watering your grass until the proper time to stop. This is well after the city or government water conservancy district will recommend. Remember, they just want you to stop using water and don’t have the overall health of your grass in mind. Grass can go dormant due to lack of water, and if it does it will be slow to green up in the spring, as well as thin, weed prone, and require more water the following year. You want your lawn to go dormant due to cold ground temperature, NOT due to lack of water or nutrients.

The third and final super important item is to mow your grass at a lower height and bag the clippings as well as any leaves or other debris so that it does not sit on the lawn over the winter. Long grass or debris left on the grass is almost a sure way to contract a fungus or other disease that will manifest itself next year. Keep mowing your lawn until it stops growing, and then give it a final cut ¼” lower than your previous cutting. We recommend a length of no more than 2” for the final cutting of the season.

While the above items are the most crucial, for those of you who take pride in dominating the neighborhood with your lush, thick, dark green grass, there are a few other items you can consider.

Fertilizer

Fall Lawn Aeration
This should generally be done before about the first week of October so that the lawn has time to recover before going dormant.

2nd Fertilizer Application
If you want your lawn to stay green longer and green up sooner in the spring, then do two fall fertilizer applications spaced about 3 weeks apart. Use a fertilizer with extra nitrogen (The first number on the bag) in the first application. This will leave your neighbors wondering what they did wrong since your lawn will look so much better all winter!

Remove ALL Weeds
If you have weeds of any time at all, spend time removing them by hand. It isn’t any easier than any other time of year, but for every weed you remove now you will see 5-10 less in the spring so let that thought help you remove any and all weeds NOW.

Patch Bare and/or Thin Areas
If you have any thin or bare spots in the lawn rake in a half-inch of steer manure with the recommended amount of seed. Then spread 50% more seed on top and keep it moist for 3 weeks. If done by mid-September you will see a noticeable difference before winter and come spring, if done properly, those spots will be totally filled in.

If this all sounds great but like too much work or effort, that’s what Everything Exterior is here for. It’s never too late to sign up for our full-service landscape maintenance service. Click here to fill in your info and request a quote to make sure the ball is already rolling for next year.