Tips of the trade: Fall lawn maintenance
By Bud Arnold
Horticulturist / Garden Center Manager, Schalow’s Nursery
As days shorten and temperatures drop, it becomes time to implement fall lawn maintenance to prepare your yard for the upcoming winter, the time your lawn goes dormant. Here are a few tips to give your turf a boost through the winter:
- Applying winterizer/fertilizer at this time is essential during these months. Fertilization of your lawn in the fall can provide an additional nutrient boost to be stored and used during the dormancy period. Throughout the winter, roots will keep growing and utilize these stored nutrients until the spring. Make sure you use the right fertilizer, though. N-P-K analysis should be around 10-0-14 for established lawns. The higher potassium (K) helps the grass build thicker cell walls, which strengthens the plant so it can withstand external stresses such as drought, heat, cold, and disease.
- Over seed your lawns, especially areas that look a little thin. This helps improve the overall appearance and health of your yard. Over seeding in fall can also help the yard recover from the heavy use of summer and has an effect on the way the lawn will look during the upcoming spring. The best natural defense against insect and weed damage is a dense lawn.
- Fall is also a good time to aerate your lawn. Aeration provides the root zone with greater access to air, water, and fertilizer. This access improves the overall health of your turf. Plus, grass roots will grow deeper and more extensive. Removing cores also relieves compaction and decreases soil density.
- When leaves start falling, blow or rake the yard clean once per week at minimum. Making sure your yard is free of leaves not only improves appearance but influences the health of your yard. Leaves block out sunlight, which your lawn needs in the fall as it stores up food for winter dormancy. The other option is to mulch up your leaves. Chopping the leaves up allows them to break down faster and release much needed nutrients into the soil.
- Finally, if you have finished mowing for the year, winterize your lawn mower. An important aspect to proper fall lawn maintenance includes making sure your lawn mower gets safely stored and is ready for spring mowing. Check all fluids, sharpen blades, and clean the body and under the mower deck.
By following these few simple guidelines, your lawn will be the talk of the town, or at least the neighborhood.
Next Week: What do you do with your water features?
For more information on Schalow’s services or for landscaping-related questions, call 715-591-3478 or visit http://www.schalows.com/.