September is here, bringing with it cooler temperatures, falling leaves and a return to the school routine. It also means a fresh start to the growing season.
If you’re also considering how early fall affects your landscaping, the following tips will help you make the most of the season:
Repair Bare Spots
Fall’s cooler temperatures help root systems grow faster. Spreading seeding mixtures now will give grass time to spread and grow before winter brings freezing temperatures. You’ll want to overseed thin lawns and patches at least 45 days before frost is predicted. Make sure you water the new seeds every day for at least half an hour.
Compacted soil restricts root growth and keeps oxygen from entering soil. That’s why it’s important to aerate the ground. Create openings in the soil with core aerators or by simply using aeration hand-held tools. The holes allow air, water and nutrients into the soil, while the plugs created will break down on top of the soil.
Now, Feed Your Lawn
You repaired the bare spots and aerated the soil. Now, you should fertilize your grass and shrubs six weeks before frost is expected. Make sure you use a fertilizer high in nitrogen to establish strong roots in time for winter. Fertilizer also increases the energy reserves for plants.
Remove Extra Thatch
There’s a layer of matter that forms between soil and grass. When it’s thin, it greatly benefits lawns. But when it’s more than ½ inch thick, it can keep water and nutrients from reaching the root system, as well as fostering disease. Cut down on this thatch with handheld rakes or an experienced landscaping team using dethatching power equipment. Done correctly, it’s one of the best ways to grow a thick green lawn in the spring.
Clean Up the Leaves
It’s that time of year when leaves are falling! Mats of fallen leaves can suffocate lawns and encourage disease and rot. You can mow and mulch small amounts of leaves, but when large amounts fall, it’s best to rake and bag them. Most townships offer yard clean up days to dispose of big piles of leaves.