Well, the fall is definitely upon us, the temperature is dropping and soon, the leaves will be falling as well! What does this mean for your grass? It means that you still have time to get your grass ready for the winter and give it the best chance possible to come out thriving in the spring! For those of you with cool season grasses, here are a few things you should be doing to get you ready for the winter!
1. WATER DEEPLY, AND INFREQUENTLY! Watering once or twice a week will help the roots of your grass grow deeper. The deeper the root zone is, the bigger the root zone will become. The bigger the root zone is, the more ability the root zone will have to capture the nutrients and moisture needed to help it over winter and come out thriving in the spring! If we water too frequently, valuable nutrients can be leached past the roots before they have a chance to absorb them and our roots will remain too shallow, promoting root desiccation throughout the winter months. Also, deep and infrequent watering really helps to eliminate excessive top growth, which means you will take less off each time you mow, thus promoting more root growth instead of more top growth.
2. MAINTAIN YOUR MOWING HEIGHT AT 3.5 INCHES! Another thing we see this time of year, is we will begin to drop our mowing height because the temperatures are cooling down. We want to maintain a mowing height, no lower than 3 inches, but preferably 3.5 inches to help promote deeper root growth as well as new tiller
production throughout the fall. Another advantage of maintaining a higher mowing height, is weed control. The taller you mow the lawn, the more difficult it is for weed seeds to make it to the soil to germinate. Also, if you have a good mulching mower, we would HIGHLY suggest mulching if possible! As the leaves start to drop, mulch the leaves as long as you can! Mulching leaves is a great way of adding beneficial fungi and organic matter back into the soil. The more frequently you mow, the better. If mulching, try to mulch every 4-5 days, but at the most every 7 days.
3. MAKE SURE YOU ARE APPLYING AN ADEQUATE AMOUNT OF NITROGEN! As the temperatures begin to drop, the soil temperature begins to fall as well. As the soil temperature declines, our cool season turf begins to kick into gear after the heat and stress of the summer months. So now is a great time to consider applying a high dose of a slow release nitrogen fertilizer to assist in carbohydrate production to help promote new tiller and root growth that will greatly assist your lawns success throughout the winter and into the spring.
4. AERATE YOUR LAWN! Aeration is an extremely important practice to consider when it comes to your fall lawn care. When the lawn is aerated, we are allow more oxygen to get to the roots as well as helping the roots to releasing carbon dioxide
easier as well. Aeration obviously helps with loosening our soil and eliminating compaction giving our roots a healthier growing environment, but it also helps to provide better water and nutrient uptake and can even help eliminate unnecessary thatch buildup that we may have in our lawns. Over all, aeration is one of the most overlooked and under-used services that we should provide to our lawns, especially for those of us who have tight, clay type soils.
It can definitely be a bit confusing trying to keep up with what we should and shouldn't do throughout the year, and we know that you all want your grass to be as healthy as it can possibly be, so if you have any further questions about what you can do to get ready for the winter, please do not hesitate to call! We are always happy to help! Thank you again for all of your continued support and enjoy your fall season!