Fall Lawn-Care Tips
Fall Lawn-Care Tips
Take advantage of autumns nice weather by getting out of the house and prepping your lawn and landscaping for the long winter months ahead. Follow our tips to get your yard ready.
Adjust Your Mower Height
If you raised your mower during summer months to reduce heat stress on your lawn, now is the time to lower it about 2 inches tall for most types of grass. By cutting it a little shorter you are preventing the grass from matting down under leaves and snow. Avoid trimming it any shorter as weeds tend to sprout up due to fewer roots.
Water if Necessary
If dry weather continues into Autumn, water 1-2 times a week long enough to soak a few inches deep. Early morning is the ideal time to water.
Remove Excess Thatch
Thatch is dead grass that gathers and settles just above the soil. A little bit is beneficial, but too much can keep moisture and air from your grass. You’ll need a convex rake and some energy to comb through your lawn to lift up the thatch. Mow a little shorter before dethatching to achieve better results. Doing this after a light rain will also help.
Another way to remove thatch is to aerate. An aerator pulls plugs out of your soil to help to loosen compacted soil, reduce thatch and improve drainage.
Most types of grass in Iowa grow best when it’s under 75 degrees Fahrenheit, making Autumn a great time to overseed. Overseed at least a few weeks before the first frost so your grass has a chance to grow.
Cool-season grasses respond best to fertilizer in the fall and also helps them green up earlier in the spring. Fertilizing in early September and again in late fall is ideal.
Kill Perennial Weeds
Fall is also the best time to go after perennial weeds as they are more susceptible to attack in the cooler months.
Prune Your Perennials
Not all perennials need to be cut back now, some can wait to be cut back in early spring. Ornamental grasses not only offer visual interest to a bleak winter landscape, but also offer food and protection for birds and other animals. While there is no rule as to what to cut back, an easy way to decide is to determine if the plant has tough leaf stalks. If not then it’s best to cut them sooner rather than wait until spring when they’ve become a fallen, sodden clump.
Be sure to rake or mulch leaves with a mower before they mat down your grass. Mulching works well to shred leaves and return them to the soil by acting as a top dressing to improve growing conditions.
Winterize Irrigation Lines
Make sure to schedule your appointment to get your lines emptied before freezing weather arrives.