The temperatures are falling and so are the leaves. While it may feel like 2012 is winding down in terms of your lawn, there’s still a lot you can do this fall before the snow flies to improve the overall health of your turf and ensure that your lawn gets off to a good start in the spring.
Basically, this time of year you want to encourage root growth in your turf plants and discourage blade growth.
Like all plants in Mid-Michigan, grass plants go dormant in the fall as they prepare for winter. This involves “hardening off” or shutting down their growth mechanisms, losing their green color, giving up moisture in their leaves, and storing nutrients in their roots. This process is designed to protect the grass plants from damage during freezing temperatures, prevent infestation from winter diseases such as Snow Mold, and allow your lawn to bounce back healthy in the spring.
So here’s our list of “6 Things to do This Fall for a Better Lawn Next Spring”:
- Fertilize: A good “Winterizing” fertilizer applied late in the fall will promote root growth without the nitrogen that promotes top or leaf growth which can be damaged over the winter.
- Cut off irrigation: Excess moisture can impede the “hardening off” process that is beneficial to the turf plants.
- Reduce mowing height to 2”: Cutting the grass lower will promote the “hardening off” process.
- Remove leaves: Keeping your lawn free of debris impedes the growth of damaging molds.
- De-thatch: Removing excess thatch reduces mold growth and promotes a healthier root system.
- Aerate (and over-seed): By loosening compacted soils aerating allows more air, water and nutrients to get to the turf plant roots, promoting strong roots. Aerating in the fall is also a great opportunity to over-seed to introduce new varieties to your lawn or to fill in bare spots.
For a more in-depth discussion of why these 6 things are good for your lawn you can link to this article on our website.