Fall Care Tips to Prep Your Lawn for Spring!
Your lawn “hibernates’ ‘ over the winter – and you might even feel a bit envious about it – but that doesn’t mean it’s fully protected and pristine until spring when the temperatures rise again. The actions you take to help your lawn in the fall can have a huge impact on how healthy it is in spring.
Grass enters a period of “dormancy” once the temperature drops consistently beneath 60 degrees (Fahrenheit). The blades might fade in color or look wilted, but the base of the plant at the soil level (aka the crown) remains alive, focusing entirely on survival.
While grasses in Michigan tend to be heartier against the cold than they are in more southern climates, they aren’t invincible. Just like how animals fatten up in autumn to increase their chances of coming through a rough winter well, there are steps we can take to help our lawns better weather the season.
What can be done to prep your lawn for winter? Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Stay on Top of Leaf Removal
A covering of fallen leaves over your lawn blocks sunlight your grass desperately needs during the autumn. It can also create a habitat for more consistent moisture covering that makes mold easier to take hold, and can serve as inviting cover for pests such as mice and voles as well.
Do not wait until the end of the season to get rid of leaves in one fell swoop. Regularly remove leaves from your lawn at least once per week, depending on how much coverage you’re getting on your lawn.
Leaf blowing and raking are both fine, but collected leaves can be added to a compost pile and returned to help your lawn in the spring.
Either way, make sure to have as few leaves on your lawn as possible once snow cover occurs. A thick layer of leaves trapped between the snow and your grass is a big-ticket for trouble. You will not like to see it when spring rolls around.
Keep on Mowing
If your grass is still growing, you should still be consistently mowing. Growth does not tend to stop until the first major frost. In our area, daily temperatures usually drop below 50 degrees around this point.
Early in the fall, keep mowing at a standard height. About 3 inches tends to be good and will help your grass gather more energy for winter dormancy.
Once it gets closer to lower temperatures, you may want to start gradually reducing the height of your grass to 1 or 1.5 inches. Do not do this all at once, however, as it can stress the grass. Never cut more than a third of a grass blade at a time.
Shortening the grass this way can provide less protection for certain pests, making them less likely to want to stick around and burrow in your yard during the winter.
Overseed Your Lawn
Although it is likely too cold for seed to germinate in late fall, overseeding your lawn in November, before a first expected hard freeze, can still help prepare it to pop back up healthier in spring.
As the ground freezes and thaws over winter and into spring, it will help work the seed into the lawn. Once the lawn has a full opportunity to bloom, the dormant seed will be in a good position to sprout.
A spreader is an optimal tool for overseeding your lawn. We can always help you if you have a yard too big to take on individually or simply just want to leave the task to us.
Fertilizing your lawn in the fall can be like giving it one last big feast before having to lie dormant through the winter. Doing properly can increase your lawn’s resistance to winter conditions and help provide a faster recovery in spring.
Over-fertilizing your lawn, however, can actually dry it out and weaken it, putting it at a big disadvantage before the cold months come. If you are uncertain about fertilizing your lawn, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll happily take care of it for you, making sure to use the right fertilizer for your lawn’s specific needs as well as the safety of your pets.
Add Water, if Necessary
The weather is not always predictable. And although rain can be a bit more prevalent here during the fall, there may not always be enough for your lawn to thrive on.
While your lawn is still growing, water it if you have received less than an inch of precipitation in a week. Stop checking once the ground is frozen.
We’ll Help You Act Now and Plan for Later!
There’s still much to do to aid and prepare your lawn through the fall, and we totally understand if it sounds like more than you are able or willing to take on at this time of year. Things get busy very quickly.
But that’s why we’re here! Our lawn maintenance services provide homeowners the peace of mind they need when it comes to winter preparations.
And if you have plans for your lawn, landscaping, or outdoor features next year, there’s no better time than now to start discussing them with us. Our schedule tends to fill up in advance on such matters, so don’t wait!
Have questions or want a free estimate? Please feel free to call our office or fill out our online contact form.