Melinda's Gardening How-To: Fall Lawn Care

Melinda's Gardening How-To: Fall Lawn Care

Now is the time to prepare your lawn for next season.

Proper care this fall will improve the health and beauty of your lawn, reduce future weed problems and minimize next year’s lawn care chores.

Continue Mowing until the Grass Stops Growing
• Mow high and often enough so you remove only about an inch of grass each time. No need to cut the grass shorter for winter; it won’t impact the health of your lawn.
• Leave short grass clippings on the lawn to add organic matter, nutrients and moisture back into the soil.

Shred don’t Rake those fall leaves
• As the leaves fall from the trees shred them with the mower when you cut the grass. These small pieces will quickly break down adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil. As long as you can see the grass blades through the leaf pieces your lawn will be fine.
• Still more leaves? Shred, bag and add fall leaves to the compost pile or use them as mulch on the soil around perennials.

One more Feeding
• Give your lawn one more feeding between Halloween and Thanksgiving but before the ground freezes.
• Fall fertilization promotes denser above ground and deeper below ground (root) growth.
• Use an organic nitrogen fertilizer that improves the soil and feeds the grass. Any nutrients the plants don’t use this fall will remain in the soil until conditions are right for plant growth next spring.

One last shot at the Weeds
• A healthy lawn is the best defense against weeds.
• Treat weeds, if needed and desired, when the lawn and weeds are actively growing
   o Creeping Charlie also known as Ground Ivy - treat in spring when in full bloom or fall after a hard freeze
   o Violets - in mid Sept & again in late October if still present
   o Crab grass – apply a pre-emergent next spring when vanhouette spirea are in bloom or the lilac buds begin to swell
• Organic Options
   o Research has found a significant, up to 80%, reduction in lawn weeds after three years of spring and fall applications of corn gluten meal preemergent. 
   o Whitney Farms organic broadleaf weedkiller will control many broadleaf weeds. Spot treat weeds and watch them turn black and eventually die. Don’t worry if some of the weedkiller touches the grass; this weedkiller will just turn the grass darker green.


Written by gardening expert, Melinda Myers. Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s Gardening How-To with you!