Want to pay it forward and help your lawn look its best next season? Then consider this: It’s officially fall, we’ve had our first snow and our lawns are preparing to go dormant. This is the purr-fect time to act!
Here are five steps you can take to send your lawn into winter primed and ready for a five-star performance next year! And for the record: my lawn got this T.L.C. just last week. Within days, I saw a remarkable difference in its appearance. No kidding! I was amazed, and I think you will be too!
Step #1: Let’s throw out some old advice
Have you ever been told that when you mow your lawn for the last time of the season, you should cut the grass really short? If you did get that advice, ignore it! It’s wrong! My lawnmower is set to leave the grass three-inches tall all season long. If you cut your lawn a lot shorter you risk exposing the base or crown of the plants to excess drying from the sun. The three-inch tall grass blades shade both the plants and the soil.
If your turf grass mix includes Kentucky blue, the lawn may keep growing for another few weeks. If it does, keep it trimmed and tidy, but don’t scalp it!
Step #2: Deep core aeration
Most Colorado soils are routinely heavy and compacted. A deep core aeration can be especially helpful in opening up those soils. That allows water and air to penetrate, which plants love!
I aerate my lawn spring and fall, before the heat of summer sets in and again in the fall after the daytime temperatures cool down. Water your lawn well before aeration so the machine can pull out long, dense plugs. Think of it as a way of letting your lawn’s roots breathe. It just makes sense.
By the way, those spiked strap-on “shoes” sold as an easy way to aerate your lawn? Phooey! They don’t open up the soil. They create “holes” by compacting the soil around the spikes. Compaction is the exact opposite of what good aeration is trying to achieve.
Step #3: Some local repairs here and there
With the openings from the aeration holes in place and the heat of summer gone, why not sod or over-seed any bare patches in your lawn now?
Tagawa’s carries a wide selection of grass seed in bulk. Our Garden Advisers at Dick’s Corner will gladly help you choose which variety of seed is best for your lawn.
The grass seed will need to be kept slightly but consistently moist until it sprouts. But with cooler temperatures and reliable moisture, now is an excellent time to help new grass plants take hold while the soil is still warm.
Step #4: Feed your lawn and your soil
The openings left by the core aeration set up excellent conditions to feed both your lawn and your soil. More on the soil in a moment.
The lawn advisers at Dick’s Corner say the fall fertilization is the most important of the season. The boost of nutrients beefs up your lawn’s stored energy as it goes dormant. The lawn will pay you back by responding with vigor next spring.
Tagawa Gardens highly recommends Richlawn Pro-Rich fertilizer for the fall feeding. Pro-Rich is made in Colorado specifically to meet the needs of our climate and our soils.
Before you put the fertilizer spreader away, there’s another quick chore on this fall lawn care “to do” list.
We know that plants are living things, but soil is alive, too, or should be. One way to feed your soil is to add humic acid, sold at Tagawa’s as “HuMic.” It can do wonders to help free up nutrients in the soil and make them more available to the plants… more “digestible,” if you will. HuMic is easy to apply with a fertilizer spreader. The garden advisers at Dick’s Corner are big fans of HuMic, for lawns and all garden beds.
Step #5: Some special help for troubled areas in your lawn…
Most of us have areas in our lawn that struggle. I certainly do. A quarter-inch layer of topdressing is a great way to help those trouble spots. EKO Lawn Topdressing is a finely-milled compost. It’s too heavy to apply with a spreader, so just scatter it loosely by hand over the open aeration holes. It will help compacted soil stay open and welcoming for the grass plants’ roots, and that’s a big deal!
Remember, if you have any questions about your lawn, or other issues in your landscape, take pictures on your smart phone and bring them into to Dick’s Corner. Our Garden Advisers will gladly help you make your yard the best it can be!