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1110 Tuscarawas Avenue NW, New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663
At first glance, fall may not scream “lawn care,” but the truth is that there’s no other time when so little work produces so many results in your yard. Fall is when grass is in full prepare-for-winter mode, so that means that any care or neglect it receives now will be magnified once things start to warm up in the spring. Here’s what you need to be doing now to have a great lawn later. (Quick note for anyone getting ready to leave and overwinter down south, the following tips apply to our cool season grasses in Ohio, not the warm season grasses of Florida.)
The two most important lawn feedings happen in September and late October. These nutrients will carry the grass through winter and provide the resources to start growing in spring. Plants that are struggling now will only be in worse shape after 4 months of cold. Fertilizer applied in the fall is used by the grasses to stimulate root growth, leaving the plants ready to produce strong green growth later. A granular, water soluble nitrogen fertilizer is best utilized by plants this time of year.
Fall is the perfect time to aerate your soil, allowing air, water and nutrients to reach the developing roots. Look for tools that pull a plug of dirt out of the lawn, rather than those that poke holes, as they can further contribute to compaction problems. If you don’t own and aerator, walk-behind (for small lawns) or tow-behind (for large lawns) aerators can be rented at most equipment rental locations, such as Frontier Rental in New Philadelphia starting at $75 a day.
Autumn is the perfect time to repair bald spots in your lawn. The cooler weather means less competition from weeds and well a established lawn next spring when the weeds do come up. The easiest way to patch bald spots is with an all-in-one lawn repair solution. Most garden centers and home stores have some form of this product. It contains grass seeds, quick start fertilizer and often some sort of moisture controller. Using a stiff rake, break up the surface of the bald spot, then spread the ready-to-use mixture over the spot and lightly tap it down. Keep it watered over the next couple weeks and you should be rewarded by a full lawn.
Leaves can be a blessing or a curse to your lawn, depending on how they’re handled. As the leaves have started falling in our area, regularly mowing small amounts of leaves with a mulching mower will provide an extra boost of compost to your lawn encouraging spring growth. At the same time, large amounts of leaves need to be raked up and removed, hopefully to a compost pile where they can be used next year to great benefit for your lawn. Whatever you do, don’t leave the leaves on the lawn over winter. After they spend the winter being compacted under the snow and rain, they’ll effectively block out all light to the grass underneath them, leaving new bald spots in your lawn come spring.
Grasses aren’t the only plants storing up nutrients for winter. Weeds are doing the same thing, making fall the best time to take care of broad leaf weeds in your lawn. They’ll drink in any herbicides applied now, ensuring that you’ll kill the root and have less weeds to deal with next year. Just make sure to apply a selective herbicide that targets weeds in an existing lawn, as opposed to a broad spectrum herbicide that kills everything. Applying the wrong one to your grass could result in one really big bald spot.
Part of the joy of home ownership is taking good care of your investment. A beautiful lawn not only shows everyone that you care about your house and provides a beautiful, comfortable location for play and relaxation, but can also actually make your home worth more money.
Photo by Marco Arment
1110 Tuscarawas Avenue NW
New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663
Phone: (330) 364-6648
Fax: (330) 364-2355