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Yard Prep for Cooler Temperatures

Fall means leaves are falling and most likely covering your lawn.  Time to rake them up.  However, preparing your yard for colder temperatures makes a huge difference in maintaining the health of your lawn. Take a look at the Fall yard chores that will help keep your grass happy and healthy.  Doing these simple tasks will lead to healthier and greener grass next Spring.


Aerate the Soil

Aerating means to make holes in the ground and remove plugs of soil. It is one of the most important task you can do to maintain a healthy and great looking lawn. It creates extra space in the soil to allow air, nutrients and water to enter, helping roots to thrive.   It also provides relief due to compaction caused by foot traffic.  Aerate your lawn at least once a year, or do it twice or even three times each year if you can. Fall is the best time to get this done.  You can rent a lawn aerator at any home and garden equipment rental store or hire a professional to do it for you.  If you are going to do it yourself, make sure you have an aerator that actually removes plugs of soil rather than one that just pokes holes in the ground.


Overseed Thin Spots of the Lawn

After you aerate your lawn it is a good time to plant new grass seeds.  While planting new,  seeds doesn’t exactly sound like the best way to prep the garden for winter, it can really help. Fall is the best time to establish new cool-season grass plants.  Try to overseed in early Fall once the intense heat of summer is gone, but at least six weeks before the ground freezes.


Fertilize in the Fall

It is recommended to fertilize your lawn four times a year for the best results. However, if you can only fertilize once a year, you will still have a good looking and healthy lawn if you only fertilize in Fall. Make sure you choose a fertilizer that's labeled 4-1-2.  Those numbers refer to the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the fertilizer.  You can always ask an expert at a garden center for advice about the best fertilizer blend for your grass type and soil conditions. Apply the fertilizer about three weeks before the last mowing of the season. Fertilizing in the fall provides energy and nutrients for the grass roots as they multiply in cooler weather before the grass goes dormant. The roots store food for the winter as well, which gives the grass an initial growth spurt when it emerges from dormancy in Spring.


Water in the Fall

It is important to remember that your lawn still needs water in Fall even though the leaves are changing, and your grass isn't growing as fast. Watering in the fall helps your lawn recover from summer stress and gain strength for the cooler temperatures that lie ahead. Also, if you fertilize in the fall, watering is necessary for the fertilizer to dissolve and soak into the ground where it's needed. So don't put your hoses or sprinklers away until the ground starts to freeze.  Your fall grass still needs the water.

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