The Only Fall Lawn Care Checklist You’ll Need

When summer comes to a screeching halt, you’ll need to know how to care for your lawn this fall. Spring-Green, with decades of lawn expertise under their belt, put together the only fall Lawn care checklist you need.

Why is Fall Lawn Care so important? That’s a common question homeowners ask us here at Spring-Green. We know it seems like a lot of work before the long, cold winter, but fall lawn care is extremely important, and here’s why. The process for a beautiful, green and lush summer lawn begins in the fall. Autumn is one of the most critical times to execute a lawn care regimen to ensure next summer’s enjoyment of your outside living space.

Before your lawn goes dormant for the winter, you’ll want to follow Spring-Green’s handy checklist to make sure you have a healthy and inviting lawn year-round.

What to know about prepping my lawn for the fall

Rake: Autumn leaves can be pretty and a highlight of the season, but they can wreak havoc on your lawn. Raking and blowing leaves off your lawn is a top priority for any fall lawn care checklist because they can cause problems such as:

  • Preventing your lawn from getting the sunlight and oxygen that it needs to thrive
  • Creating a moist, damp environment that attracts disease, as well as bugs and rodents

With all these unpleasant side effects, the pretty leaves are best removed as soon as possible. An alternative to completely removing the leaves is to mulch them. You can leverage a mulching mower to chop up the leaves and use them as compost for your grass.

Fall Aeration: Scheduling core aeration during your lawn’s growing season in the fall will set you up for success in the spring. Aeration process removes pieces or plugs of soil and deposits them onto the surface of the lawn, which will eventually decompose. Fall core aeration provides plentiful benefits, like:

  • Reducing the incidence of soil compaction
  • Nourishing and encouraging deep and healthy lawn roots
  • Removing thatch layers that can prevent issues
  • Alleviating or eliminating stress caused by summer drought conditions
  • Reducing weeds, thus decreasing or diminishing insect or disease issues
  • Making conditions right for better intake of fertilizers and control products
  • Stimulating new grass growth

Seed: Seed is the secret to having a lush and green (not to mention healthy) lawn next summer. Your fall seeding and feeding effort will bring a bevy of benefits to your lawn year-round, such as:

  • Cultivating the soil making it more likely for the grass seeds to grow
  • Reducing the risk of diseases, weeds or insects infesting your lawn

Fall Lawn Fertilization: Fertilizing your lawn is also a critical part of any fall lawn care checklist. Fertilization not only offers nutrients for your lawn to store and use in the winter but also helps it thrive in the dormant period. Follow these best practices when fertilizing your lawn:

  • Fall fertilizing is best for cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue and perennial ryegrass, as well as for warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass and zoysia grass
  • Two applications of fall fertilizer are recommended—one right after Labor Day and the other after your last mow of the season
  • Choose the right fertilizer for your lawn
    • In northern areas, choose a quick-release fertilizer with a lot of nitrogen for late fall
    • In the south or west, use a fertilizer high in water-insoluble nitrogen

Fall Weed Control: No fall lawn care checklist would be complete without a mention of weeding. It’s that annoying task that can’t be avoided. Eliminating weeds is important to your lawn’s overall health year-round but especially as you prep it for colder temperatures and dormant periods.

Mowing: Mowing is not just summer’s chore. It’s important to mow your lawn before the winter, as well as get your mower maintained. Here’s what our fall lawn care checklist suggests:

  • Toward the end of autumn, mow your lawn more closely (Tip: Never cut more than one-third of the lawn all at once; it should be a gradual process)
  • Pay special attention to your grass’s height for prolonged lawn health

This fall lawn care checklist is a perfect way to get you started with setting up your lawn for success this autumn and beyond. When you need help with your lawn care, Spring-Green is here to help. We can assist you with all your lawn care needs, including:

  • Lawn Care—From weed control, disease treatment and aeration to maintenance and much more.
  • Pest Control Services—From mosquitoes and fleas to ticks and more.
  • Tree & Shrub Services—From trimming to disease treatment and more.

Contact your neighborhood Spring-Green professional today to get things started.

Fall Lawn Care Tip: Mow, Don’t Rake, Those Leaves

To many people, fall is their least favorite time of year because of all the leaves that fall on their lawns. I used to spend hours and hours raking leaves, stuffing them into lawn clean-up bags, and hauling them out to the curb for pick up. In my town, I also have to purchase a sticker for each bag that costs about $2.00 each. I have some very large trees on my property, so it was not unusual to have twenty or thirty bags on the curb filled with just leaves. This does not include the bags that are used for all the annual plants that die each year, the spent garden plants and all the other yard waste that has to be, and should be, recycled. Fall lawn care can be very tedious.

A couple of years ago, I started reading articles from several universities advising people not to rake the leaves, but just mulch them up and leave them lay on the lawn. The decomposing leaves will recycle important nutrients back into the lawn and do not significantly add to a buildup of thatch. So, I started doing so and have to say that the ground up leaves that remain on the lawn are all gone by the following spring and my lawn seems to be greener and healthier from doing so.

Most power mowers do a good job mulching leaves. In the picture, you can see my dog, Mischa, sitting in an area that has not been mowed. To the right is the area that has been mowed and most of the leaves are no longer visible. They have been cut into tiny bits and have filtered down into the lawn. It is best to mow when the leaves are dry, but it will still work if they are slightly damp.It can be a challenge if they are extremely wet. It is also a good idea to stay on top of the leaf mulching and try to mow every week until all the leaves are down. Waiting until all the leaves have fallen may result in too many leaves to mow through easily at one time.

Because of the amount of leaves that fall in my lawn, I often mow the lawn twice to make sure I mulch up all the leaves that are present. In the picture below and to the left, you can see the result after my lawn was mowed twice. Of course, there are still many leaves that have not come down yet. The picture below and to the right, shows my lawn the next morning. That is the way it will go for the next couple of weeks. I would rather mow my lawn every week then to spend an entire day raking – and it is cheaper, too. So, don’t rake, but mow those leaves and recycle the nutrients back into your lawn.