Lawn Care Basics
Important Lawn Maintenance Projects for the Fall
These quick projects can make the difference between so-so and spectacular when it comes to fall grass — and next spring's lawn.
These Easy Projects Take Only 15 Minutes
Here are some easy yard maintenance things you can do that will make a big difference come spring.
Feed Your Lawn
The difference between a "so-so" lawn and a truly beautiful lawn both now and next spring is two fall feedings. Fertilizing in early fall helps your lawn begin rebuilding grass roots that were damaged during the hot, dry summer. Since fall is also a great time to kill several type of lawn weeds, including clover and dandelion, you can do two jobs at once by applying a weed and feed, such as Scotts® Turf Builder® WinterGuard® Fall Weed & Feed3. If you live in the South and have a St. Augustine, zoysia, or centipedegrass lawn, use Scotts® Turf Builder® Southern Triple Action instead. It not only kills weeds and nourishes the lawn, but also kills and prevents fire ants.
Follow-up with a second fall feeding 6-8 weeks after your first fall fertilization. Scotts® Turf Builder® WinterGuard® Fall Lawn Food gives your fall grass the nutrients it needs to store up energy for a healthy spring push, plus helps to break down mulched-up leaves.
Spruce Up Your Lawn
When kids play on a lawn that's still hurting from summer heat and drought, it can get damaged. If you have bare spots in the lawn (like the one left behind after the kiddie pool is put away), use a product specifically formulated for repairing bare spots like Scotts® EZ Seed® Patch & Repair which is guaranteed to grow grass anywhere (when you give proper care). To thicken up a thin lawn, use Scotts® Turf Builder® Thick’R Lawn™, which is a 3-in-1 product uniquely formulated to help turn weak, thin grass into a thicker, greener lawn. With any seeding project, keep the soil surface moist. Aim for a light watering once a day or as needed until the seedlings have reached a mowing height.
Check out our seeding solutions article for more information.
Mulch Your Leaves
Don't let tree leaves smother your grass. Contrary to popular belief, fallen tree leaves will not insulate your lawn during winter. In fact, they can block vital sunlight and thin your grass. So, drop your rake and mulch your leaves to dime sized pieces with your lawn mower before applying one of your fall feedings to help the soil microbes break down the leaves.
See our article on mulching leaves for more information.
Check the Gutters
While you're hanging holiday lights, check the gutters and give them a good cleaning while you've already got the ladder out. You don't want clogged gutters when winter storms roll in.
Mow Your Lawn Shorter
In late fall, drop your mower down and cut your lawn 1 to 2 inches shorter than you have the rest of the growing season. Continue to mow shorter until your grass stops growing in early winter. You should cut your lawn slightly lower for the last cut.
Stow Your Lawn Furniture
It's probably too cold now to sip lemonade on the patio, so put your cushions away and haul the grill and furniture into storage until next year.
Clean Up your Tools for a Fresh Start Next Spring
They've served you well all season, but now that you've completed your fall yard maintenance, it's time to put the tools away. You'll keep them from rusting if you clean them up before you hang them up. Also, if you're done mowing for the year, do your winter mower maintenance for storage.
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