Number 1 – Keep Mowing!
Continue to water and mow your lawn, as needed, throughout the fall. Then as the season draws to a close, drop the mower’s blade to its lowest setting for the last two cuttings of the year. That will allow more sunlight to reach the crown of the grass and there will be less leaves to turn brown during the winter. IMPORTANT: Remember to never trim off more than one third of the grass blades at any one time. If necessary, gradually lower the cutting height until the time of the final two cuttings.
Number 2 – Aerate the Soil
Let oxygen, water and fertilizer have a hope of reaching your lawn’s roots by aerating in the fall. A gas-powered walk-behind aerator can be rented, or if you don’t feel like doing it yourself, it can easily be hired out.
Number 3 – Rake the Leaves
We know that this job stinks, but it’s important to remove fallen leaves from your lawn as soon as possible. If you wait until all the leaves have fallen to begin your raking duties, you’ll have a thick, impenetrable mat of leaves that have been soaked by rain and morning dew, and the lawn will suffocate underneath from lack of oxygen. Let’s not even talk about fungal breeding. Gross, eh? Alternative: a lawnmower with a vacuum and/or a bagging system. With this method, it’s still important to remove the leaves as early as possible to avoid suffocating your lawn.
Number 4 – Fertilize
Many lawn experts would agree that this is the most important fertilization of the season. While the grass blades have slowed in growth as the weather has cooled, the roots and rhizomes (the horizontal stems that grow beneath the ground’s surface) continue to grow at a feverish rate. A fall application of fertilizer delivers essential nutrients for the grass to grow deep roots now and to keep nutrients on reserve for a healthy start next spring. In mid-to-late fall, apply a dry lawn fertilizer to all grassy areas. Be careful not to miss any spots!
Number 5 – Fill in Bald Spots
The quickest, easiest way to do this is with an all-in-one lawn repair mixture. Sold at most garden shops and home centers, this ready-to-use mixture contains grass seed, a special quick-starter lawn fertilizer and organic mulch. Use a garden rake to scratch loose the soil at the bald spot in your lawn. Then spread a thick layer of the lawn repair mixture over the area (Turf Soil / Seed Mix). Lightly compact the mixture, then water thoroughly and continue to water every other day for two weeks, unless mother nature is providing 10+ mm’s a day.
Number 6 – Weed Control
If broadleaf weeds like dandelions have taken over your lawn, now’s the time to fight back. Weeds, like most plants, are in the energy-absorbing mode during the fall. There are many organic weed controls that can be applied during the fall. They’re drinking in everything that comes their way, even weed killers.