As we transition to fall, lawn care may not seem like a high priority, but making sure your lawn is cared for throughout the colder months is essential to its overall health and to ensure it will once again become that perfect green lawn come spring. To help prepare your grass for the upcoming temperature change, we’ve compiled a list of lawn care tips to ensure it remains healthy throughout the fall and winter seasons.
A clear sign that fall has arrived is when the trees’ color palette turns from shades of green to rustic oranges, yellows and reds. That color change also signals the time of year when leaf blowers and rakes emerge from the garage as the leaves begin to blanket yards throughout the neighborhood. Leaves, although beautiful this time of year, can be a death sentence for your lawn. It is important that leaves and other debris are removed from your lawn as quickly as possible, as a thick layer of leaves will suffocate the grass below by depriving it of the air, nutrients and sunlight it needs. We recommend regularly collecting the leaves that gather on your lawn and disposing of them so they don’t affect the health of the grass below. This can be done through traditional racking and blowing, or by mower collection or a yard vac. Once you’ve collected the leaves, you can use them in a compost pile or as mulch — win, win.
Throughout the warmer months, it is crucial to fertilize your lawn regularly. The biggest sign you need to fertilize is a discoloration of the grass. However, as we enter the colder months, the methods of fertilization change. Fertilizer provides the grass with nutrients, allowing it to grow at a faster, healthier rate. Winter fertilizers are good to apply to your lawn during late September and October, as they will help establish root growth throughout your lawn. When fertilizing, another thing to keep in mind is weeds. They are not something we like to think of in our lawn, so it is best to take the correct steps to prevent them. Applying a pre-emergent herbalizer along with your fertilizer can help to block the initial enzyme in most weed growth, therefore not letting these weeds emerge in your lawn.
For most turfgrasses, the grass will enter dormancy as it gets colder and the temperatures get into frost or freezing range. While it is good to fertilize your grass in the early stages of fall, as it gets colder, it is better to let your lawn enter dormancy. Fertilizing with a low nitrogen fertilizer in September to early October will give your lawn plenty of stored energy to help it come out of dormancy in the spring. We realize that the color of your lawn as it enters dormancy may not be ideal, but it is a very necessary and healthy process for your warm-season lawn, so please refrain from fertilizing it during this time.
Many of us host get-togethers and outdoor cookouts throughout the summer months, which means we have many guests walking across our lawn and inevitably compacting the soil. Aeration is a crucial practice for lawns in Georgia given the compaction of the soil along with the infamous “Georgia clay,” which restricts air, water and nutrients from getting to the roots. Aeration removes small plugs of soil from your lawn (typically ½ – ¾ inches in diameter and 1-3 inches deep) to cut through the thatch layer (created due to restricted oxygen levels) and allows the soil to receive the water, air and nutrients it needs. Most warm-season lawns, common to the South, are best to aerate during the spring and early summer. However, for those with cool-season grasses, such as bluegrass, fescue and ryegrass, it is best to aerate in the fall.
Aeration of your lawn requires a mechanical device, as these holes are rather large and wouldn’t be easy to do on your own. Dethatching your lawn, on the other hand, is far simpler and can be done during your regular lawn maintenance. While dethatching is not needed as often as mowing, it is a necessary task for the long-term health of your lawn. While raking the leaves on your lawn in the fall, pushing the thines of the rake into your grass is a simple way to help dethatch your lawn. If you are worried that your rake may not be strong enough for this task, no worries, a dethatching rake exists that is built to be stronger than a normal rake.
Although our lawns will go dormant in the fall, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be watered. In Georgia, it is ideal for your lawn to get about one inch of water per week during the cooler months. If you start to have an issue with runoff, water your lawn more often, but with less water each time. The best time of day to water your lawn is early morning, ideally between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Watering later in the day will not give your lawn a chance to dry out before the cooler nights and can cause mildew and fungus to grow on your lawn, which in turn can lead to lawn diseases. To ensure your lawn is not getting too much water, make sure to check the weather ahead of time so you aren’t watering your lawn when the forecast calls for rain.
If you have any questions or would like a sod quote, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 770-857-3536.