As the weather turns crisp, you may think your landscaping duties are a distant memory. In actuality, cooler temperatures are the ideal time to get your lawn prepped for winter. Hot, dry, summer weather can seriously stress your grass and for months it has fought to survive; now is the time for it to take a well-needed recharge. Here’s how you can help it along.
Mow Your Lawn Short.
All spring and summer we’ve said, “Raise your mower deck,” “Don’t give your lawn a buzz cut.” Now, we’re saying the opposite. Since your lawn’s growth has slowed or stopped, you want to mow it short so you can get at the soil and root system underneath. Mow your grass to 1 to 1.5 inches. If your grass is high (over 3 inches) mow it down in stages so you don’t take off more than one-third of the blade.
Aerate the Turf.
Late fall is the perfect time to aerate your lawn. Aeration, which uses a machine or blade to poke holes in the soil, helps reduce compacted soil and allows fertilizer and water to reach your grass’ root systems. Just a quarter to a half-inch of compacted soil can affect the health of your lawn. You can rent a machine to aerate your lawn, or hire a lawn professional to do the job.
Add Compost to Bare Spots and Adjust pH.
Spread nutrient-rich compost on any bare spot to help protect the topsoil. This is also a good time to test your soil’s pH and add the necessary nutrients to balance it. According to the LSU AgCenter, the pH of soil affects nutrient availability, microbial activity and, consequently, turfgrass growth. Soil testing should be done routinely to make proper adjustments.
Apply a Winter Fertilizer.
A properly fertilized lawn now will be more resistant to weeds come spring. Most lawns benefit from slow-release nitrogen fertilizer as it can be applied at higher rates without fear of burning your grass. Use a drop spreader to apply it accurately, as applying by hand can leave your lawn streaky and with spots that are both over-fertilized and under fertilized.
Reseed with a Great Seed.
Reseeding now with one of our Mayberry blends means your grass will have a head start against weeds come spring. It also means it will have to fill in any bare spots before the lawn goes completely dormant. Using our proprietary centipede seed is a great choice as it is 99% weed-free, low maintenance and grows in even poor soil conditions.
Showing your lawn some love now will help make it lush and healthy come spring. Go to our Where to Buy page to find Mayberry seed near you or order it online.