Today is the fall equinox, meaning that there is 12 hours of daylight matched with 12 hours of darkness, signalling the first day of fall. There are a few things with your lawn that you should look after now to prepare your lawn for the the upcoming winter. The first thing you should do is make sure that the lawn has had its fall fertilization. This will ensure that the entire plant is healthy. The grass plant will absorb the nutrients. The fall is a good time for turfgrass to grow, and if there are not enough nutrients available the grass will grow with a pale yellow colour, spindly and will not be working efficiently. The root system is the main benefit of a healthy actively growing grass plant since it stores the sugars that are made with the growth of the plant that is visible above ground. These stored sugars and nutrients are then available in the spring, as the grass comes out of its winter slumber.
As our previous posts have indicated, this past summer was one of the driest and hottest in recent memory. Many lawns suffered in sunny parts and it’s normal that the grass that survived has thinned. This is a good time to over-seed your lawn and get it nice and thick going into winter. Thickening the lawn reduces the chance of new weeds germinating this fall and in the spring. For more information on over-seeding please contact your local Weed Man or visit our website. Along with the over-seeding, it is a good practice to aerate your lawn if it has not been aerated already during the year. The fall is a great time for aeration as it brings soil to the surface. This soil gets incorporated into any thatch you have built up in your lawn. The microbes that are in the soil will help break down this thatch layer. Also, if you have a newly sodded lawn it is recommended that you start aerating the lawn once the roots have started to hold down the turf when you pull on it.
When you have new sod, there is a layer of soil that is introduced to your lawn that was not there before. This layering can cause problems a couple years down the road… Aerating the lawn will incorporate the new and existing soil. The last thing you need to do is make sure you rake up the leaves as they come down from the neighbourhood trees. If the leaves are left on the lawn you will have bare patches where the leaves accumulated and smothered the grass. Another alternative to raking is mulching the leaves with the lawn mower, which is a good way to recycle them back into the lawn. Just make sure that the mulched leaves are not too thick to smother the grass beneath. If the mulched leaves are too thick run the mower over the area until they disappear. If you properly maintain your lawn this fall it will be ready for all the hardships that the winter can bring. If you have any questions about helping your lawn prepare for winter please contact your local Weed Man as they can answer specific questions relating to your local climate.