October 7, 2016

Fall is (finally) in the air! As seasons change, we need to change our lawn care strategies, too. When it comes to yard work, the decisions we make now determine the grass we’re going to get next spring. Many of us adore the look and even the feel of autumn leaves, but the season that involves beautiful multi-colored leaves is very much a fleeting one. So whilst the leaves are falling, keep in mind the following fall lawn care tips from our friends at Yard Day.

Fertilize in the Fall

Many people never fertilize their lawns at all, and their grass suffers the consequences. Autumn is the absolute best time of year to fertilize your lawn. The growth rate for grass starts to slow down as everything gets cooler in the fall, but the growth rate of the grass roots themselves will usually stay the same. They’re underground, so they’re going to be less responsive to changes in temperature.

If we fertilize our lawns when the grass is at this stage in its development, the grass roots will be deep and full of the nutrients that will help it grow beautifully when the weather starts getting warmer. Fertilizing the lawn should be done during the middle or late days of autumn.

Rake Leaves Early … and Often

Raking leaves is the quintessential fall lawn care task, but many people don’t do it according to the right schedule. It seems to make some sense to wait until all the leaves have fallen before taking out the rake; some of us might feel that all of our efforts will be undone when new leaves fall and disrupt the previously raked areas.

However, if we don’t rake the leaves continuously throughout the fall, we’ll end up with layers and layers of leaves. These layers will accumulate moisture, which is going to create the perfect breeding ground for fungal diseases and bacterial diseases. The grass is going to be suffocated, and the dead remains will only contribute further to the mats of plant matter. Needless to say, these mats of leaves can be very difficult to clean and remove. As frustrating and thankless as it is, it makes more sense to clean the leaves as they fall.

Reseed Barren Patches

Few factors can affect the look of a lawn more than barren patches, which make an otherwise green and fertile lawn look shabby. Too often, people wait to to address this problem until spring, but by then it might be too late. We’re better off trying to fix this issue in the fall. Lawn maintenance is all about timing, and these crucial lawn problems need to be fixed according to the right schedule.

Homeowners should reseed early in autumn. Using a combination of mulch, fertilizer and seeds for this process will yield the best results. This fall lawn care strategy also helps prevent weeds from returning when spring arrives. The developing seedlings will crowd out the weeds, preventing them from becoming established in the ground. Planting seedlings in autumn may seem counter-intuitive, but it is one of the best lawn care tips out there.

Soil Aeration

Many of us neglect soil aeration, but fall is one of the best times to do it; consider renting a lawn aerator or Scarifier for this purpose. Once you aerate your lawn, it will be that much easier for oxygen and water to reach the roots of the plants when spring arrives.  Plants need water for the sake of photosynthesis and therefore for growth, so if more water manages to reach the roots, the plants will be able to grow more efficiently.


Many fall lawn care techniques take advantage of the way plants grow and renew themselves. The lifecycle of plants in general tends to be very brief, which gives all sorts of windows of opportunity for homeowners who are trying to control the development of the plants in their yards. There is nothing natural about lawn care.

Most of us are trying to cultivate an area that matches conventional aesthetic preferences, and having a lawn that looks like nature reclaimed it means having what many would consider a messy lawn. However, it is possible to take advantage of the natural developmental mechanisms of plants in order to create the perfect lawn at the perfect time. People who really understand their plants will end up with pristine lawns in the process.

Reprinted with permission from Yard Day; original version available at this link.

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