What You Need To Do To Get Your Lawn Ready For Winter
Aerate your lawn - Fall is the time when a lawn naturally repairs itself from the ravages of summer stresses. You can help this along by aerating your lawn to open up your lawn to allow more air, water and nutrients to reach the root zone. Aeration will also help reduce thatch problems.
Fertilize - Lawns are beginning to store food and transferring energy downwards to build a stronger root system. Applying a fall fertilizer will promote a stronger root system and healthier turf.
To rake or not to rake? - The answer to this is one of personal preference. I choose to grind up the leaves that fall on my lawn instead of raking them up, putting them in paper bags that I have to purchase and placing a $2.00 sticker on each bag. Research has shown that grinding up leaves and leaving them on your lawn does not contribute to the thatch layer and can actually add to the organic content on your soil.
Control Weeds - There are numerous weeds that start to germinate in the fall, such as dandelions, some thistles and Shepherd’s Purse. Applying a weed control in the fall lead to less weeds in the spring.
Fertilize - Avoid using high nitrogen fertilizers in the fall. You have to allow time for warm season grasses to harden-off before they go into dormancy. Apply a fertilizer that is higher in potassium (the last number on a fertilizer bag analysis) in the fall.
Control Weeds - As with northern areas, there are numerous winter annual weeds that germinate in the fall. Get these under control before they have a chance to get established in your lawn.