Posted on Oct 1, 2019
Whether you have warm or cool season grass growing on your lawn, thoughtful fall yard maintenance prepares your property for a great season in the following spring. Here are some of the most important things you’ll want to add to your to-do list before the first frost hits.
Removing debris from your lawn becomes a regular yard maintenance activity this time of year, slowly replacing the time you would have spent mowing. It’s important not to allow debris to sit on your lawn for too long, it can create an inviting environment for pests and as well as dead spots on your lawn. If you have a preference for raking or leaf blowing, it’s worth considering collecting the leaves and composting them instead of setting them out for collection. Decayed leaves make for great plant food when sufficiently broken down. Another alternative to manually collecting the leaves is mulch mowing your lawn.
High quality mowers that have the ability to mulch grass like those found in John Deere’s X500 Series treat other organic material the same way. When using the MulchControl function, the blades found on these mowers can break down unwanted leaves into easy-to-absorb plant food taking care of three jobs at once; mowing, leaf collection and fertilization. Just think, all that saved time gives you an opportunity to get a leg up on other fall yard maintenance chores like clearing that same debris out of your gutters.
A lot goes on in your yard over the summer, especially if it’s been a good one. Likely there’s been an increase in foot traffic from BBQs and play, regular mowing and even carting of various materials like plants and soil for gardening. All of that regular wear and tear can add up over time in a less than desirable way resulting in things like thatch build up, compaction and bald spots, which can set the stage for disease and pests.
These common backyard problems can be managed with specific yard maintenance techniques to avoid malabsorption of fertilizer and failed over seeding attempts among other unpleasant side effects. With the issue of thatch, it’s best to take a core sample with a spade to determine if it’s an issue for your property. If you do have a thatch problem, you’ll be able to see a ½”+ of built-up organic material between the grass and dirt. The old-fashioned hand-held raking method might be your best bet if you have a smaller property. Bigger properties would benefit from a tool like a rotary broom.
Spotting whether you’ve got a compaction issue can be done without tools. If you’re struggling with drainage in an area after a heavy rain, compaction is likely the culprit. In which case, you’ll want to aerate. There are manual tools and tractor implements like a core aerator that can remedy the issue equally well. Both methods work, it just depends on the size of the property and compatibility with your equipment.
Aerating is also beneficial for over seeding and fertilizing because it allows your application to get deeper into the ground alongside water and air. If you’re a new DIYer, one of our specialists can help you troubleshoot and get kitted out with the right attachments or implements for the job.
Generally speaking, grass diverts its resources and nutrients down to the roots this time of year before going into dormancy, so fall fertilizing packs a bigger punch then it would in say, mid-July. When you apply also matters too. If you hurry up and get moving in the first few days of fall for instance, but the outdoor temps are consistently the same as they were in July, you’ll be missing out on a lot of the benefits you’d otherwise receive if you’d waited a little longer.
To get the most impact for your application, you’ll have better luck in the later part of the season, with some variance between geographic locations of course. Think of it like hibernating, the more nutrients your lawn can store over winter, the more it’ll have to work with when it comes out of dormancy in spring. This can be done in addition to mulching your clippings and leaves for even better results.
Need help figuring out your fall lawn care game plan? Stop by your nearest Ag-Pro dealership for all your property needs including the best John Deere fall yard maintenance attachments and implements to get you through the season.