Most of us look with relief towards the falling of the leaves and the easing of the summer mowing schedule. However, if you want your lawn to look gorgeous next year, there are still some chores that need to be done.
It doesn’t take much to winterize your lawn. Take some time one weekend and get some exercise. You’ll be well rewarded when your lawn is the envy of the neighborhood next year.
Fall is really the best time to fertilize because you can use long-acting, more stable fertilizers that won’t encourage legginess or weaken the root systems of your grass.
The best way to fertilize is to rent a fertilizer spreader from a local hardware store. It will provide a more even and reliable method of delivery than a spray-on application.
When it comes to fertilizer, be careful. More is not better. More will kill your grass. Apply the fertilizer exactly as specified. No more, no less.
The second step to a healthy lawn is aeration. Grasses have thick root systems that have a tendency to bind. Additionally, the soil tend to compact when it is walked on. Finally, “thatch,” or dead plant matter, builds up on the surface of the soil, choking the grass. Aeration solves all these problems.
Aeration is the act of removing plugs of soil from the lawn. This can be done with either a motorized aeration machine or with a special hand tool. When these plugs are removed, they allow the soil to gain more oxygen, they give the grass roots more room to expand into, and they allow any new grass seed to gain a foothold.
Reseeding is the most optional step. If your lawn is already thick and lush, you may not need to reseed. But in case you do, just purchase some cool weather grass seed like fescue and spread the seed using the fertilizer spreader from the first step.
Then, lightly rake the lawn to rough up the soil and get a little overtop of the seed. Finally, water lightly, but deeply, like a soaking drizzle. You will need to keep the grass seed evenly moist until it sprouts, but this is much easier to do on cool fall days than in the spring when things are heating up!
It only takes a few hours to winterize your lawn and have it primped and ready to go when the daffodils start sprouting in the spring.