The summer months can hit lawns hard. High temperatures and drought periods often result in dead, patchy, or otherwise unhealthy grass. Fortunately, grass has a strong ability to bounce back from such stresses - provided you give it the help it needs. Fall maintenance goes a long way for ensuring a lush, healthy lawn next spring.
Unfortunately, many homeowners assume that they can simply stop worrying about their lawn until winter has passed. This attitude often makes it harder for your lawn to thrive. If you would like to learn more about keeping your lawn happy, keep reading. This article outlines three key maintenance tips that can help keep your lawn healthy this fall.
1. Aerate Your Soil
If you are like most people, you probably spend a lot of time on your lawn during the summer months. From barbeques, to croquet, to simple lawn mowing, lawns experience a lot of use. All of that foot traffic compresses the soil beneath your grass. Compressed soil makes it harder for grass to spread out its roots.
In addition, compacted soil makes it more difficult for water to disperse evenly. As soil grows more and more compacted, grass has a harder time remaining healthy.
The technique known as aeration combats the natural tendency toward compression. Aeration involves the creation of small cylindrical holes across the surface of your lawn. These holes make it easier for water to penetrate into the ground. In the process, soil loosens up and spreads out into a less compacted state.
Soil aeration delivers the best results when done during the fall months. Consider renting a push-behind aerator from a reputable store in your area. These handy tools make aerating your lawn a breeze.
2. Mulch Fallen Leaves
When most people think of fall lawn maintenance, one thing comes to mind: dealing with fallen leaves. You should never allow dead leaves to accumulate on your lawn. Otherwise those leaves will smother everything beneath them, blocking the sunlight and causing the grass to thin out. Most people deal with dead leaves by raking them up and throwing them away.
However, a more productive alternative exists: mulching. Mulching makes use of the nutrients in those leaves to boost your lawn's health once spring and summer roll around again.
Begin by renting a mulching mower. These mowers have higher decks and special mulching blades that break up dead leaves into small pieces.
A mulching mower can handle up to six inches of leaves at once. The design of the mower also ensures an even dispersal of the processed leaf pieces. Over the course of the winter, worms and microorganisms break down the leaves. This breakdown releases organic materials that nourish your grass with valuable nutrients.
3. Fertilize Your Grass
All lawns benefit from regular applications of fertilizer. Fall tends to be the best time to apply fertilizer, for several key reasons. First of all, greater temperature swings between night and day increase the amount of morning dew. As the dew soaks into the fertilizer, it helps to dissolve and disperse the fertilizer into the ground below.
Fertilizing in fall also boosts your grass's stamina. Winter takes a serious toll on the health of grass, and fertilizer can promote more vigorous root growth. This growth allows your grass to steel itself for the increased rigors of winter. For best results, apply a layer of fertilizer roughly 2 or 3 weeks before your ground freezes.
A lawn requires maintenance in order to look its best. How you treat your lawn during the fall months plays a huge role in how it thrives once warmer weather rolls around again.For more information about the tools you'll need for fall lawn maintenance, contact the rental pros at F.L. Davis Ace Home, Hardware & Building.