Here in the North East winter comes earlier for us than the rest of the country. That is why it is so important to be on top of our fall lawn care. At Alliance Landscaping, we have been providing lawn care and lawn care tips throughout New Hampshire for over 20 years. So to help you along on your fall lawn care journey, we have provided a handy list of important chores that will benefit your lawn.
Here in New Hampshire, our yards consist of cool-season grasses. Cool-season grasses grow best when temperatures are between 60-75 degrees, which is why they grow the most in the spring and fall. Continue mowing as long as your grass seems to be actively growing. Generally, the cut-off point comes when temperatures consistently drop below 50 degrees during the day. Here in New Hampshire, this is typically sometime in November. Keeping your grass mowed throughout the fall is key to keeping it strong and healthy throughout the season. When you begin to notice a drop-off in grass growth, plan to lower the mowing height by one-half inch from your regular practice. Normally, this means a length of approximately 2 to 21/2 inches for the last mow or two of the season. This height is long enough to help prevent snow mold but short enough to withstand cold weather.
As we mentioned earlier, cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass do their growing in the fall. The seasonal change represents the best and last opportunity for recovery before winter. Continue to water your lawn until it’s time to winterize your sprinkler system or put your hose away. Before that occurs, we recommend giving your grass approximately 1 1/2 inches of water per week, adjusting it based on rainfall. Gradually reduce watering until the average nighttime temperatures are in the low 30s, then stop. Water won’t penetrate once the ground freezes. If you use an automatic sprinkler system, be sure to set the timer to water less often until it’s time to have it winterized.
After a long summer of active use, your yard can become worn out and your soil hard. Hard soils are a sign of soil compaction. Test your soil with a screwdriver, if you can’t stick a screwdriver into your grass then your soil is too compact. Soil compaction is caused by several factors including playing, mowing, construction, and not watering enough. When soil is compacted it prevents water and nutrients from reaching your grass. This can cause your grass to look thin and dehydrated. The best way to cure this is with aeration services.
After a long summer, your grass needs time to recover. Fall is an ideal time to fertilize your lawn because this is the time of year your grass is storing energy for the winter. As your grass and other plants absorb soil nutrients they get depleted over time. You need to replenish these nutrients with fertilizer. The type of fertilizer you choose depends on the type of grass you have and the quality of your soil. That is why we recommended getting a soil test before you apply any fertilizer. A soil test will tell you if your soil is too acidic or too alkaline and then you can take the steps to correct it.
Here in New Hampshire, fall weeds are the worst. By this time of year, homeowners have usually turned a blind eye to weeds as they focus on other areas of lawn care and prepare for winter. We tend to think that weeds die off in the fall and we don’t have to worry about them. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Fall is one of the most important times of the year to declare war on weeds and the time of year your actions will have the most impact. In the fall weeds that are still growing in your yard will go to seed and spread their seeds all over your yard. These seeds will wait until spring to germinate and take over your lawn. Weeds are adapted to our yards and can quickly outpace our grass and establish themselves. The key is to attack weeds in the fall before they have a chance to spread their seeds. All you need is some post-emergent weed killer and target all the weeds you can. This action alone will greatly decrease the number of weeds you see next year.
The most pressing issue in the fall is to get fall leaves off of your grass as soon as you can. Leaves can create a thick blanket over your grass, blocking out sunlight and air. This creates the perfect conditions for lawn diseases and fungus to grow. Make sure you get out there and get the leaves off your grass before it snows.
Your yard needs to be fertilized to stay strong and healthy but creating enough compost to cover your entire yard is impractical if not impossible. At Alliance Landscaping, our lawn care program will ensure your grass gets everything it needs to stay strong and healthy.