Now that the fall season is upon us and you’ve done all the damage control you can from summer’s unfriendly effects, what can you do for your lawn now that will keep it healthy and beautiful?
Lawn maintenance is key for the month of November, the focus should be on sprucing up your lawn and doing any necessary leaf cleanup from October’s leaf shedding.
Lawn Spruce Up
Last minute compost As recommended for September and October, it is a good idea to spread a layer of compost over your lawn. You can patch up and reseed bare spots by adding a layer of compost and spreading the same type of seeds you have in the area. The next steps include covering the layer of compost and seeds with an even spread of straw while watering the area consistently, which will allow the grass enough time to germinate before extremely cold temperatures occur. Just because winter is right around the corner doesn’t mean you can stop watering your lawn. Your lawn still needs some water action before the cold season settles in.
Cutting grass During the fall and winter, lawn experts recommend cutting your grass a little higher than usual in order to maintain a deeper root system, which contributes to a healthier lawn. Before you mow your lawn next time, raise the deck height of your mower to a height of at least two inches for warm season grasses and about three to four inches for cool-season grasses. In the more densely shaded areas of your lawn, you should allow the grass to reach an even taller height.
Avoid walking on new lawns New lawns can be very sensitive, especially if they are not carefully monitored to avoid being trampled and stepped on. New grass blades can be damaged so much that they may not be able to survive. Give your new grass every opportunity to grow by keeping people, especially children, off the lawn. Also, even if the lawn becomes iced over, avoid walking on it.
The more trees you have on your lawn, the more fallen leaves you’ll have. It’s important not to dismiss fallen leaves and instead to take quick action to remove them, as they can disturb your turf grass, especially recently seeded lawns. Removing leaves quickly will also decrease the chance of insect and lawn disease problems since leaving leaves on your lawn can cause them to become matted down from rain and moisture, and is more prone to developing insect problems and lawn diseases.
To remove leaves from your lawn, a rake or leaf blower both work well. Be careful not to pull up any tender grass blades while using a rake. A bamboo rake can be useful because it does less damage than a plastic or steel rake. If you want to be extra careful with grass blades, a leaf blower will help, although you may want to make sure any and all new seeds have germinated and won’t be blown away by the leaf blower.
To avoid both the rake and blower, you have another option with the mulching mower, which can shred leaves into tiny pieces that decompose in the lawn while adding organic matter and nutrients back to the soil. Don’t let the name fool you, as the mulching mower does not actually make mulch, but leaves behind compost instead. The mulching mower can be quite beneficial since it leaves compost in the lawn directly as opposed to the trouble of creating a separate compost pile and using that to spread over the lawn.
Fran Phalin is a homeowner and writer on things that work. She has used ABC Pest & Lawn services for lawn care and maintenance and to treat lawn disease! Fran lives and works in Austin, TX. Find out more about ABC Pest & Lawn at http://www.abcpest.com
Also check out Organic Gardening for all Seasons for more information on fall gardening