Autumn is here in full force, and it’s now or never to prepare your lawn for a healthy run this fall—as well as a fruitful return next spring.
You need some fall lawn care tips to get started, and we’re here to help. Let’s look at six ways to keep your turf flourishing this season.
1. Do a Clean Sweep
After a hot summer— averaging over 80 in August in our state, Massachusetts— your lawn might need a little extra care. If you were maintaining a healthy turf all summer long, you’ll likely still have some slight patches due to the hot, dry August. Or, if your property experienced neglect (we get it, life gets busy!), you might need to nourish it. Look at fall lawn care Tip #2 for recommendations for reviving a lackluster lawn.
September is the time to deadhead your flowers and give your lawn a well-deserved refresh. Turn over your mulch to add fresh color or lay down a light lining to brighten up the beds. If it’s been a few seasons, consider a completely fresh coating of mulch.
Quick fall lawn care tip: Throughout October, make sure you’re raking or collecting fallen leaves. Not only will this produce a clean look, eliminate smothering the grass but it’ll also remove hiding spots for pests. If you don't have the time to rake, use a mulching mower. The finely chopped leaves will decompose and add to your soil's structure.
2. Plant & Fertilize
The fall planting window begins early September, weather depending, and is usually the ideal time to plant new trees, shrubs and perennials. It’s also the time to deep root fertilize your already planted trees and shrubs, preparing them for the colder weather ahead.
Plant some fall flowers, mums and kale to get festive. If the weather is mild, fertilize remaining flowers with a fast-acting fertilizer for longer bloom. Don’t forget to add pumpkins and hay bales— the perfect outdoor autumn decor.
You may be wondering when to fertilize your lawn in the fall. Make sure you nourish your lawn once a month from September through November to help it maintain its luster as the season shifts into winter. Don’t forget to add compost to your garden beds sometime in October so your blooms last throughout the season.
Quick fall lawn care tip: Your November fertilization is especially important to help winterize your lawn and promise greenery early spring.
3. Continue to Cut
We all have to cut our lawns over the summer. The grass seems to spring up overnight during seasons of sunshine! But, if maintained properly, your turf will still have a few months of life before the frost hits, so don’t stow away your lawn mower quite yet. Depending on where you live, you’ll be consistently mowing all throughout fall (we know in Massachusetts, we certainly are!).
Avoid cutting your grass too short, AKA scalping, give your dull summer blades a good sharpening and consider grasscycling. We talk about all these lawn care tips and more here.
Quick fall lawn care tip: For the final cut of the lawn care season, keep your mower blade height shorter to help prevent early spring disease.
4. Don’t Forget to PH Balance Your Lawn
September is the time to add a lime application to your soil. A lawn care professional should be able to test your turf and help you whip up a formula to balance the PH of your property.
Why does your yard need lime? Well this natural, ground limestone contains calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate, which makes your soil less acidic and more alkaline. This keeps you lawn in harmony and ensures your turf has the nutrients it needs to flourish.
During summers with heavy rainfall, calcium naturally dissipates as rainwater passes through soil, making the earth more acidic and not a rich environment for life. During a dry summer, the calcium remains and lawns can become too alkaline, which promotes excess growth. This means, you must continuously test your PH levels— and fall’s easy temperatures makes it the perfect time to let your turf recover and prepare for winter.
Quick fall lawn care tip: This rich nutrient benefits plant growth, but it's not a substitute for fertilizer. Learn why by reading more about the power of lime for your lawn.
5. Apply Tick & Mosquito Treatments
Autumn is a bad time of the year for diseases— which are often spread by ticks and mosquitos who like to hide under leaves and enjoy the moderate weather. Make sure you protect your family by treating your property to repel the pests, once a month throughout September and October. Here’s some natural tips for repelling insects from your property, such as recommendations on grass height to deter pests.
Quick fall lawn care tip: Ticks and mosquitos aren’t the only pests who can wreak havoc on your beautiful fall turf. Protect plant material from browsing deer by purchasing protective wrappings to lay down early season.
6. Aerate & Overseed
After a full summer of mows and foot traffic, your lawn’s soil is likely in need of some care. Aerating, overseeding and topdressing with compost strengthens thinning lawns, relieves soil compaction and adds organic matter to your soil. Learn more about about the benefits of aerating and overseeding your lawn in our article. What’s the correct order to aerate, overseed and topdress your turf? We also cover this topic in another blog.
Quick fall lawn care tip: Reduce your watering as the days get cooler to avoid saturating your yard and plants.
Need a Fall Lawn Care Calendar?
All of these fall lawn care tips are great, but there’s so much to do. Don’t waste time trying to organize an action-plan yourself. We’ve got a full year’s worth of turf and property care advice in our Massachusetts Home Landscape Calendar. There’s monthly tips to maintain a brag-worthy lawn this autumn.