Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:53 pm
The main focus of lawn care is in the spring. You prepare the soil, sow the lawn and are pleased when the lawn appears in a lush green within a very short time.
In order for the lawn to experience the best possible start in the next season, you need to prepare it for the winter. Autumn is an essential period to strengthen the lawn before the colder months.
What maintenance steps should you take in the fall to help your lawn come back to life in the spring? The following actions will keep your lawn in the best possible health and help it get through the winter in good shape.
Mowing the lawn
Mowing the lawn is one of the most important tasks in the spring and summer. By cutting it properly, you maintain the optimal lawn height so that the lawn appears healthy. With a robotic mower, you will achieve a perfect result and make your work easier. What do you need to pay attention to when mowing in autumn?
The lawn grows only at certain temperatures. If the temperature moves in a range of 12°C, the lawn hardly grows. You can mow less frequently and you need to pay attention to the change in growing conditions.
If the temperature drops below 9°C, growth is considered to have stopped. In autumn, when the warm days are over and the cold weather sets in, the lawn goes into a kind of hibernation.
As winter approaches and the temperature limit is reached, you should mow the lawn one last time. When cutting, you must make sure that it is not too short. The ideal length of the lawn protects the soil from frost and acts as a protective layer. On the other hand, if the blades of grass are too long, they will suffer more from frost and may even break off. If a severe winter is imminent, a medium-length lawn is better equipped for this.
How long the lawn should be in the fall after the last cut depends on the variety. In general, the following lawn heights are recommended as a guideline.
- Ornamental lawn: 1.5 to 2.5cm
- Ordinary lawn: 3 to 4cm
- Shade lawn: 4 to 5cm
Remove foliage regularly
The lower temperatures and less sunlight are not only a strain on the lawn. The trees also prepare for winter by shedding their leaves.
However, the leaves have no place on the lawn. It forms a barrier and the lawn underneath literally threatens to suffocate. The sun no longer penetrates to the blades of grass and weeds could form under the leaves.
Therefore, it is your task to remove the leaves from the lawn. The more often you remove the leaves, the better off your lawn will be. Either dispose of the leaves in the compost or use them as fine fertilizer for mulching. Along trees, the foliage proves to be quite practical. After all, it protects the roots and returns important nutrients to the tree. However, the lawn suffers from the leaves, which is why they have no place there.
Scarifying in autumn
Scarifying is considered a typical activity in the spring. It serves to loosen the existing felt from the turf and allows more sunlight to penetrate. Dethatching is an integral part of spring lawn care.
In the fall, dethatching is not mandatory. If your lawn is in good condition and no felt has formed during the summer, you can do without it. To do this, poke the ground with a spade and look at the result. If there is a clear layer of felt, then dethatching is an important measure to prepare the lawn for winter.
When dethatching, it is important that you set the appropriate length of blades. This is because you want to highlight only the felt and not cut the roots of the lawn. With a thoughtful approach, you will prepare the lawn optimally and it will go into the winter stronger.
After scarifying, it is advisable to apply some lawn sand. The sand loosens the soil and enables better absorption of nutrients and water.
Watering the lawn
The water requirement of the lawn decreases significantly in autumn. While in the summer it makes sense to water the lawn quietly every other day, this is not necessary in the fall.
Pay attention to the weather forecast and do not give too much water. Check the moisture of the soil to avoid waterlogging. In the fall, watering once a week is usually enough to keep the lawn adequately hydrated. Depending on the amount of precipitation, adjust the watering and your lawn will certainly not die of thirst.
Just as in the summer, in the fall you should maintain the recommendation that watering is done only in the morning or evening. If the sun lets itself be seen, it will continue to be intense during the midday hours, leading to greater evaporation of water.
Re-fertilize the lawn
During the summer, the green area has already been subjected to a lot of stress. Warm temperatures, children playing and the odd barbecue have certainly left their mark.
If you thought that in autumn or winter the lawn can finally recover and lawn care is no longer necessary, this is not quite true. There are just other challenges waiting to be overcome just as well.
From fall to winter, expect wide temperature swings. At times, it can still be warm with temperatures above 20°C. But temperatures far below freezing are also possible. Rain and snow put an additional strain on the soil and the grasses. To better cope with this stress, the application of an autumn fertilizer is recommended.
You should not wait too long before applying the fertilizer. If temperatures drop below 9°C, not only does growth stop, but the lawn is hardly able to absorb the fertilizer. Therefore, the application of the fertilizer should still be carried out on the warmer days.
The composition of the autumn fertilizer is slightly different from the spring fertilizer. It contains less nitrogen. In exchange, potassium and phosphate are present in greater quantities.
Potassium lowers the freezing point of plants. It therefore acts as a natural antifreeze. Phosphate, on the other hand, promotes root growth and in this way strengthens the lawn. These are protected thanks to the stronger roots and winter diseases occur less frequently.
Apply the fall fertilizer on days when a light rain is predicted. The moisture will drive the fertilizer into the soil, where it will be optimally absorbed.
Issue a reseeding
If your lawn did not cope well with the summer and you see bare patches, autumn is the last time to issue a reseeding. The soil is sufficiently warm and the increased precipitation even ensures better growth of germs.
In the bare spots, you should loosen the soil and remove the turf. Eliminate possible weeds and prepare the soil. After that, sow the reseed and have to be a little patient. Light rolling after seeding will help make contact with the soil and encourage growth.
While your lawn is already preparing for winter, some weeds are still alive and kicking. It copes better with the colder temperatures and may spread further into the lawn.
To prevent this from happening, you need to carefully remove the weeds and perform lawn care in the fall. Whether you remove the dandelions, pluck clover or millet from the lawn. It is important that you always get the root of the weed out of the ground when doing this. The easiest way to do this is with a weed cutter. With this, you easily penetrate the soil and grab the weed along with the root, so that it can no longer multiply even in winter.
Careful lawn care in autumn for a better start in spring
If you take good care of your lawn, it will thank you. Autumn and winter should not be underestimated with their amount of work. As a gardener, you will maintain an optimal lawn if you care for it year-round and address its needs.
When the colder days are upon us in September and October and winter is upon us, one last intensive lawn care is needed. With proper mowing, application of fall fertilizer and reseeding, you will strengthen the grasses.
Your lawn will better survive the winter and wake up in spring in perfect condition. Therefore, lawn care in the fall should not be neglected and it serves as a preparation for the new season.