Now that fall’s coming to a close, there are some simple tasks you should complete before winter weather sets in. Taking these precautionary steps will get your lawn ready for winter and a great spring growing season.
- Mow Often and Low: Most people slow down their mowing routines during the fall, and that’s okay. However, you want to keep your grass no more than 1 to 1.5 inches high in order to determine how much composting and aerating you’ll need to do. Don’t shock the blades by chopping them all down at once. Instead, mow often enough—and with gradually lowered blades—to get the grass to the desired length without damage.
- Rake and/or Mulch Leaves: Don’t let leaves take over your lawn and destroy what’s left of the growing season. Rake them, or mulch them in order to put the nutrients back into the ground. Mulching can also be beneficial when you want to protect your grass against rapidly decreasing temperatures. Learn how to compost leaves for mulch.
- Aerate: Aeration is almost always done in fall because it allows you to take advantage of looser, moister conditions to loosen the soil. For a healthy, lush lawn, professionals recommend annual aeration.
- Prep and Overseed: Now’s the time to address bare patches in the lawn and overseed for next year’s growth. Ideally, this should be done 6 to 8 weeks before the first hard freeze so new grass roots can become established.
- Clean Up Planting Beds: Dig out your summer and early fall annuals. It may seem like a lot of work, but it’ll make it easier to plant next spring. Trim annuals as they die back. You should also dig out and overwinter non-hardy perennials like dahlias or gladiola bulbs.
- Protect Delicate Plants: Depending on your hardiness zone, you should protect delicate plants from cold weather. Bring potted plants indoors and insulate less-hardy annuals. Insulation can be as simple as a thick layer of mulch, or as complicated as carefully laid burlap over rose bushes.
- Eliminate Foot Traffic: Your lawn is more likely to survive the harsh winter if you keep foot traffic off it. It’s very easy to turn a brown lawn into a mud pit if too many people take shortcuts over your grass. Keep sidewalks and walkways clear to avoid too much damage.
After your lawn is ready for winter, you can sit back and enjoy what’s left of your outdoor season.