It is important to properly prepare your lawn for winter if you have plans for your spring colors to really flourish. Here is a guide to ensure your lawn will be able to endure the harsh winter and recover gracefully by spring.
Aerate the Lawn
When rain and other moisture pools in grassy areas, it is important to aerate the soil that has gotten compressed so that water and nutrients can get to the roots. A garden fork will work on a small yard, but for bigger projects, it is suggested to use a walk-behind aerator that pulls out 2.5 to 3 inch deep soil plugs, which break down naturally by spring.
Feed Your Grass
Reducing fertilizer use in late summer prevets perennials from wasting energy on leaf production. However, grass roots continue growing until the earth reaches temperatures 40 degrees and lower, so fall is a good time to feed them. Applying a high-phosphorus mix (12-25-12) to lawns in fall encourages root growth, so the turf greens arrive earlier in spring.
Mow a Final Time
It is suggested to trim down your turn to 1.25 inches for the final cut of the season. This is because diseases have a harder time surviving with shorter grass. It also makes it easier for fallen leaves to blow across and even over your lawn since they have nothing to cling to as they pass. Don’t trim it too low! Grass makes most of its food from the upper blade, so it is possible to over do it.
Plant New Shrubs
In many regions, planting shrubs early in the fall is a good way to give the plants a jump start with developing roots during the season’s cool, moist soil, that would be where most of the plants’ energy would be focused. Here are the basics:
- Dig a hole. it should be a depth of 2” less than the full height of the root ball, and twice the diameter.
- Put the shrub in place. The top of the root ball should remain at ground level, not below.
- Fill the space loosely with soil, then add water to settle it in, then add more soil to the top of the root ball. Do not pack down the soil as this will interfere with the needed aeration. Then top off with mulch.
Fall landscaping maintenance may seem dreary and a lot of work, but in the end it will payoff. There’s gold in them there hills and in this case the gold will arrive in the spring of 2020 when all the hard work you put in this fall pays off when spring arrives.