Lawn Maintenance in Fall
The harsh conditions of winter can inflict a lot of damage on your lawn. In order to protect your lawn as much as possible during the winter months you should be prepared to do some regular lawn maintenance every fall.
Try to keep your lawn as free as possible from falling leaves. Although the rotting leaves can add nutrients to the soil, they also prevent sunshine from reaching the grass, and this can cause the grass to die off before the winter snows arrive. Raking leaves every couple of days as they are falling off the trees has the dual benefit of exposing the grass to as much sunshine as possible and aerating the soil by the action of the raking.
The lawn should be fertilized before the cold weather, and natural fertilizer produced by composting is the best type of fertilizer you can provide. Compost can be made from kitchen scraps and garden cuttings, and the leaves that you are raking from the lawn can also be added.
Try not to cut the lawn too often in the fall — once every three or four weeks is sufficient. After each cutting, spread a thin layer of compost over the soil. The compost will fertilize the soil as well as providing a layer of mulch to keep the soil moist.
If your lawn has a problem with weeds, fall is a good time to treat it. Apply herbicides to weeds as needed or dig them up manually if there are not too many. Other lawn problems such as thatch can also be dealt with in the fall.
If your lawn receives a lot of traffic during the summertime the soil can become compacted which leads to insufficient aeration in the soil. This situation can be corrected in the fall by a using a machine called an aerator. They are available at rental yards or hardware stores.
Finally, make sure your lawn has sufficient moisture throughout the wintertime. If you live in a climate which has freezing weather all winter, water the lawn well before the first frost. Even though the lawn is dormant throughout the wintertime, it is still alive and needs a supply of moisture to survive.