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7 fall lawn care tips for a lush yard all year long

Yard work

Fall lawn care tips for a lush yard all year long

While most of your yard’s care and watering probably occurs during spring and summer months, fall is an important time for lawn care, too. Throughout the autumn months, nutrients are stored in grass and plant roots so they can survive the winter. To best prepare your lawn for the colder months, schedule some time to do your fall lawn care.

These fall landscaping tips — including essential guidelines for watering, fertilizing and aerating — will be the key to maintaining an eye-catching yard now and for seasons to come.

Prepare your yard for winter with these professional lawn care tips

Let’s break down the whys and hows of fall lawn care — including how to do a fall lawn care treatment.

Test your soil

Good soil health provides the foundation for overall yard health. Before you begin any yard or lawn maintenance, it’s helpful to assess the fertility of your soil. To receive the most comprehensive analysis, send a soil sample to a lab, like this soil testing laboratory at the University of Minnesota.

To collect your sample, scoop dirt from several areas in your yard and place it into a clean bucket, avoiding all grass and litter. After you have two to three cups of soil, package and ship your sample into the lab. More detailed instructions on how to take a soil sample are available here.

Reports typically take a week or two to complete. The report will offer vital soil information, including soil fertility, pH and organic matter details. Plus, each report highlights recommendations for how to improve the nutrition of your soil and the health of your yard.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Garden trowel or spade
  • Clean bucket
  • Leakproof container
  • Packing and mailing supplies

Fertilize your grass

If your soil test indicates your soil has specific deficits or you notice your lawn is a little lackluster, it may be time to implement some grass care with fertilizer. Fertilizer boosts the availability of certain nutrients in the soil, allowing your yard to flourish.

Fertilizer can be spread or sprayed on your lawn. Whatever option you choose, make sure to clean up excess fertilizer, wear protective gear and follow all safety precautions. For a more organic approach, you may be able to use your at-home compost to help fertilize your soil and feed your plants.

Remember, it’s best to fertilize your lawn from early August through mid-October.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Fertilizer spreader machine or spray canister
  • Fertilizer or liquid fertilizer

Mulch your leaves

As the fall colors begin to fade and trees drop their leaves, you might consider mulching them. Not only will mulching your leaves help organize the debris in your yard, but the mulched leaves are also beneficial for your lawn health. Mulch made from leaves creates an organic solution for soil nutrition, and it can even help prevent erosion in your yard and garden.

To mulch the leaves in your yard, you’ll simply need a mulching mower, which trims your grass into finer remnants so that your clippings can act as mulch. By trimming your dry grass regularly using a mulching mower, you should be able to avoid clumps and buildup. If you do find that your trimmings are clumping, use a rake to spread the mulch around your yard until your grass is clearly visible.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Mulching mower

Aerate the soil

Aeration is the process of removing soil cores from the lawn to promote healthy grass growth. By aerating your soil, you will help loosen your soil and allow air, water and other nutrients to be fed directly into the grass roots.

A few days before aerating your lawn, water the grass; this will help the aerator penetrate deeper into your lawn. Then, mark any sprinkler heads, landscaping lights or other lawn fixtures with flags. Finally, aerate your yard with your tool of choice, taking extra care around marked areas.

The best time to complete this yard care is from mid-August through mid-October.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Water hose
  • Flags or other markers
  • Aerator device

Ambush weeds

Eradicating weeds in your yard can be achieved by various methods. A few DIY tactics include:

  • Spraying vinegar on the weed
  • Pouring boiling water on the weed
  • Smothering the weed in mulch

Alternatively, you can opt for a store-bought weed killer. Keep in mind, these chemicals may be dangerous for your respiratory health, so spray sparingly and carefully. To avoid damaging your lawn, perform all spraying when temperatures cool down.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Spray bottle
  • Weed-killer of choice
  • Mulch

Fill in dead patches

Seeding and sodding are excellent solutions to repair bald spots on your lawn. However, each method comes with its own set of pros and cons. Typically seeding is less expensive and can work well to fill in small patches of dead grass over time. On the other hand, sodding provides “instant” grass, but it can be expensive.

If opting to seed your lawn, do so mid-August to mid-September. Sodding can be laid any time during the growing season, but September is ideal.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Learn more about grass seeding and sodding options here

Visit the Edina Realty blog for more lawn tips and advice

As you move forward with your search for fall lawn care tips, reach out to Edina Realty or your agent. Your REALTOR® is a home expert and can work with you as you prep your yard and home to sell this fall.

Fall lawn care FAQs

Do you have lingering questions to get your yard ready for fall? Here we’re sharing extra advice on how to care for and treat your lawn in the fall.

When is it too cold to fertilize my lawn?

Typically, it will be too cold to fertilize your Minnesota lawn or Wisconsin lawn any time between mid-October and the beginning of May.

When should I stop mowing my lawn in the fall?

To maintain healthy grass throughout the winter, it’s suggested to continue mowing your lawn until the grass stops growing in the fall. Most Minnesotans and Wisconsinites can stop mowing their grass around the end of October or the beginning of November.

When should I stop watering my grass?

Depending on where you live, you can continue watering your lawn through October. However, you should always check to see if your lawn needs water; if the top six inches of soil are dry, it may be time to give it some extra hydration.

When watering your grass, try to conserve as much as possible. Water in early mornings, use collected rainwater and adjust your lawn care schedule when there is sufficient rain supply.

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