Late fall is your last chance to take care of some details that will prepare your lawn to remain healthy through winter and give it strong support for spring. If you’ve been delaying putting your lawn to bed for the winter months, we strongly suggest doing it.
Lower the height of your mower. Your lawn should enter winter without any young, tender growth that could make it more appealing to winter diseases like snow mold. New soft growth on the lawn is also more prone to drying out after the first winter winds come through, which leaves you with a tan or brown lawn all winter. So, as late fall approaches, begin to gradually bring the cutting height down on your mower, until you are almost, but not quite, scalping the lawn.
It’s important to do this in several steps to avoid suddenly removing all the green leaf tissue and damaging the turf.
This is a time of year when your lawn can really chow down and make quick, good use of fertilizer. The lawn’s top growth has slowed, so these nutrients go straight to the roots for a strong start next spring. Turf actually converts the fertilizer into food reserves and loads up its root system so it’s ready, willing and able to get a quick (and healthy) start in spring.
Before snow or other winter weather hits and buries the evidence, take the time to go over the lawn one more time. Leaving debris on the lawn can smother the grass and create problems with winter or early spring diseases.
If the lawn has not been aerated, there may still be time. Aeration is very effective as long as the soil is not frozen. In other words, as long as you can still pull a good core, your lawn will directly benefit. Late fall aeration gives the pulled plugs plenty of time to melt down and to get thatch decomposing. Be sure your mower and other lawn equipment has been winterized to save grief in the spring.
Late fall and winter are great times to determine your lawn care program for spring. Making a few decisions early can save you money later.