Preparing Your Yard for Spring

The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of lawn care. Many people fall victim to forgetting about their lawn and landscape care when cooler weather begins to make an appearance. Some only focus on cleaning up leaves and don’t realize that their yard still needs care in order to keep it in good health for the next spring. Follow these general tips this fall to keep your yard healthy for seasons to come.

Start Pulling Weeds

Effective weed control is much more than spraying a product. There is much meaningful work to be done before breaking out the quick-fix bottle treatments. Cooler weather is not enough to stop weeds, either. Start pulling your weeds by hand to make sure you get every last one, leaving all of the nutrients from your soil for the grass.

Keep Your Grass Cut to 2 to 2½ in.

Continue to water and mow your lawn, as needed, throughout the fall. Then as the season draws to a close, drop the mower’s blade for the last two cuttings of the year. If your grass gets much taller than 3 inches in the fall it will mat, and this could lead to winter lawn disease problems such as snow mold. If you cut it shorter than 2 inches, you’ll severely limit its ability to make and store food for growth in the spring and encourage weed growth.

Seed and Fertilize

Fall is the ideal time to give your lawn the much needed TLC it needs after the brutal summer heat before the harsh winter months. Grass leaves grow much more slowly as the weather turns cool, but the grass roots and rhizomes continue to grow quickly. A fall application of fertilizer delivers essential nutrients for the grass to grow deep roots now and to keep nutrients on reserve for a healthy start next spring. Seed dead or bare spots and overseed the full lawn to get dense, plush grass, rich in color.

Aerate and Loosen Up Compacted Soil

When you care for your lawn, think of yourself as a farmer tending his crops. Farmers spend a lot of time weeding, but they also cultivate their soil. Core aeration is the removal of plugs of soil from the lawn that allows air and water to more easily penetrate, as well as reducing the bulk density of the soil. Allowing plenty of air to make its way through the soil is a great way to make sure it stays healthy and can be the best growing environment for your plants.

Remove Dead Plants and Debris

Remove dead stems, dead flower blooms, leaves that drifted into your beds, and sticks. You can also pick out any debris that may have drifted from the trash can into your beds, where debris often gets trapped. A good pair of garden gloves will make this task a lot less messy and a little easier. Remember that any organic matter such as leaves and dead plants are great to add to your compost.

Rake Leaves

You may not see too many fallen leaves just yet, but don’t wait until all the leaves have fallen from the trees to start raking. Raking leaves helps to avoid damage to the grass and can also protect water quality. In winter, freezing and thawing can cause leaves, dead grass plants, and other organic debris to release soluble forms of phosphate (and nitrates). If these chemicals run off frozen ground during spring snowmelt and early spring rains, they can end up in surface water.

Start Thinning Your Perennials

Look for plants that look crowded and dig out a few center blooms. You can plant these in other areas of your yard or give them to someone you know looking for new plants. Dig up the entire root of the bloom and the rest of the plant will have more room to breathe and grow.

Start Filling in Bare Areas

Now is the best time to plant your fall bulbs or add additional perennials to your beds. Plant according to tag directions, add plenty of water, and they will look great come spring.

Fall is the time where grass is absorbing energy, moisture, and nutrients in preparation for a long, dormant winter. Give it a little attention now, and you’ll be rewarded with a lush, healthy spring lawn. Always remember your backyard has dreams too, and it is our goal at Dogwood Landscaping to transform dreams into reality. Click here for more information about our services and how we can help you.