We are still very much in the throes of summer and next year’s lawn is most likely the furthest thing from your mind. The truth is that the key to the success of your next year’s lawn is how you prepare it for the cold winter months. To insure that your lawn is as green and lush as can be, preparations should begin early in the fall.
For those lucky enough to live in one of the southern states, such as Florida, where the weather is agreeable all year round, lawn care is a year-round affair. For those living in the northern states and Canada, where the temperatures dip below freezing and grasses go dormant during the winter, lawns require maintenance for three seasons: spring, summer and fall (winter preparation).
For those of us that have to deal with winter, it’s almost time to start thinking about getting our lawns ready. Winter preparation is critical but doesn’t require a tremendous effort. In order to bring your lawn to a whole new level next year, make sure that you take the following steps this fall:
Fill Unsightly Patches
Fall is the time to fill in those patchy areas in your lawn. Sowing new grass seeds in the beginning of the fall. This will accomplish two things. First, your lawn will look healthier and fuller leading up to the winter. Second, sowing new grass seeds in the beginning of the fall will give the new grass enough time establish a healthy roots system so as to insure that it will make it through the winter. This means a fuller lawn for the following year.
Aerate The Soil
Lawns and soil take a real thumping during the summer months, especially if you have children. In order for grass, or any plant for that matter, to grow healthily, roots require a certain amount of air. Every time that you walk on your lawn or mow it, you are essentially compacting the soil. When aerating the soil, you are pulling plugs of soil. This allows air to get to the roots which means that your lawn will get the nutrients it needs to prosper.
In the fall, leaves turn all kinds of magical covers then…they fall and make a mess on your lawn. If left to its own devices, the leaves, pine needles and other debris that accumulates on lawns in the fall will eventually form a layer of decomposing vegetative mass above the soil. Plants require light, water and nutrients in order to survive. A layer of vegetative matter will prevent your lawn from receiving all three. Raking your lawn during the fall will prevent a build-up of vegetative mass.
Sow Winter Grass Seeds
Over the course of years, a homeowner will generally sow a variety of different grass seeds. Different grasses will tolerate different levels of cold and, as a result, some grasses might go dormant during the winter and some might hang in there throughout the winter. If your lawn looks pretty good during the winter but has a couple of yellow patches then you might want to consider sowing seeds of annual winter grasses such as winter rye. It is recommended that you plant winter rye during the beginning of the fall.
Your lawn drew nutrients non-stop from the soil all summer long and fall is the time to start giving back. Applying one healthy helping of fertilizer in the early fall and one in late fall (just before the soil freezes) will encourage the development of a healthy root system and insure that your lawn is best prepared weathering the cold. Lawns require more phosphorous and potassium during the winter, inquire at your local garden store for what fertilizer best suited for your area.
It is important to water your lawn occasionally in the fall, especially if there isn’t a great deal of rain. If you planted annual winter grass then make sure to water with greater frequency.
Apply Herbicide If Necessary
If you have a problem with weeds then fall is the proper time to go on the attack. During the fall, grasses and plants absorb additional nutrients from the soil in advance of the winter. When herbicides are applied during the spring and summer, they will generally succeed in killing the plant above the soil but the roots will remain healthy and soon sprout more roots. In the fall, weeds will absorb more of the herbicide into their roots making it the best time to finally clean up that lawn for good.
Once you have finished all of your winter preparations, all that is left to do is enjoy the winter. When spring rolls around, you’ll be kicking back in your chair while your neighbors are running around frantically trying to catch up.
If you live in Toronto or the GTA and you have any questions regarding your lawn or landscaping in general then be sure to contact Greenbloom Landscaping. Greenbloom Landscaping is a complete range of services; from simple patch jobs to the design, installation and maintenance of high-end landscaping projects.