Get a jump start on a lush lawn next spring by getting your green in shape to cope with winter.
Step 1 – Clear Debris
Pick up any branches and twigs, then remove fallen leaves with a leaf blower.
Step 2 – Mow Low
Cut your grass to a height of 2-1/2 inches and leave the clippings on the lawn. This returns up to 25% of nitrogen back into the soil.
Remember that lawns should be put to rest over winter at the same height they are maintained over summer. Taller grass ensures a deeper root. Cutting too short can make the lawn more susceptible to winter damage.
Step 3 – Aerate
Layers of dead grass, leaves and other organic matter, known as thatch, can build up on the surface of the soil, blocking drainage, encouraging moss, harboring fungal diseases, and preventing the strong growth of grass.
Dethatch to aerate your turf so essential nutrients can reach your soil.
Step 4 – Top-Dress
A nice, thick lawn requires healthy soil as its base.
Since many home lawns have poor quality soil, top dressing becomes even more important. Top dressing is simply a way of adding organic material and restoring the balance to home lawns, building better soil and increasing soil flora.
Spread the soil using something flat, like the back side of a heavy garden rake, working it into aeration holes and covering low spots. Make sure the top-dressing is no more than 1” deep (preferably ½” or less) over the existing grass.
Step 5 – Fertilize
Distribute fertilizer to stimulate root growth. Always conduct a soil test first to determine the best mix for your conditions.
Fall fertilizing gives your lawn the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and produce a strong root system, ensuring it emerges greener than ever when spring arrives, and with less weeds.
Step 6 – Overseed
What seed you choose depends on the region where you live, and the issues that may prevent you from having a full lawn. If you have a lot of trees on your property, try a shade-resistant seed. If you have pets and children constantly playing outside, choose a variety that’s mean to withstand heavy foot traffic.
Learn more about choosing the right seed here.
Use a rake to gently mix the seed with the fertilizer.
Most importantly, water daily. Your new seed must stay constantly moist – if it dries out, you risk the seeds not germinating.