As the hazy, lazy days of summer wind down and we approach Labour Day, life for many Canadians changes. Our kids go back to school. Our roads get busy again. And the daily hustle and bustle of everyday life returns; sometimes before we are ready to handle it! Believe it or not, your lawn has adjustments to make as well. What you do in terms of cultural practices will determine how well your lawn is ready to handle it! As the fall weather approaches, an ideal time for your lawn presents itself in the form of slightly cooler temperatures, more moisture and warm soil. Taking advantage of these conditions can really help prepare your lawn for the looming winter months ahead. Raking is Good for Your Grass There are plenty of reasons to give your lawn a good raking. Sometimes after a hot/dry summer, your lawn can develop discoloured patches from insect and disease issues that cause the grass to look tired. A light raking with a leaf rake to stand those grass blades up straight will do wonders for a tired looking lawn. Lightly raking tired looking areas will remove weak/diseased grass blades as well as help with air circulation. Aside from Aeration and Over Seeding (also very highly recommended at this time of year), a light raking can be like oxygen therapy for your lawn. As the fall advances, raking takes on a different purpose. Those brightly-colored, gorgeous leaves that adorned the branches of your trees just weeks ago are now likely clumped in a thick layer across the surface of your lawn. Heading outside to rake can be a daunting task – particularly when a gigantic yard awaits. However, raking excess debris off the lawn is very important. Leaving it for too long can be detrimental to your turf’s health. Some helpful Fall Raking Tips: Mulch Your Leaves During the very early stages of the fall, when your trees are shedding just a few leaves, it’s a very good practice to mulch your leaves back into the lawn (providing you have a mulching mower). If you are able to mow often, you can actually minimize the need for that dreaded heavy raking. At the same time, frequent mowing/mulching will give back to your lawn in the form of nutrient-rich leaf particles. Mulching is a real win-win! Be Weather Wise Wet weather? Windy weather? Take a pass! Wet leaves are heavier than dry ones, and attempting to rake them up will only put added strain on your body. Breezy conditions can also complicate a raking project by drawing out the process. A calm, bright day is the best recipe for success. Quality Counts That flimsy rake sitting in your shed may have been on sale, but it’s going to cost you in the long run. Why not visit your local home improvement store and invest in something a little sturdier? Dependable, powerful tools place less stress on grass blades and can help you cut down on your raking time. Posture, Posture, Posture A proper raking technique will help take away the pain. Instead of hunching over your lawn, be sure to stand upright as you rake. You can also keep blisters at bay by changing up your hand position frequently and/or wearing work gloves. When picking up leaves, let your legs do the work instead of your back. Following these fall raking tips will go a long way to ensuring that both you and your lawn are ready to handle whatever changes come your way!