Fall is here. This summer has been hot and dry. But taking time to put your yard and landscape "to bed" in fall, your lawn will reap the rewards. Follow these tips to ensure your lawn has the best chance to thrive next year.
1. Feed your lawn. Think of fall fertilization as refueling and replenishing your lawn after a long, hot summer.
2. Remember to water. Water early in the day to avoid evaporation and disease development.
3. Air our the soil. Thatch build-up and foot traffic can compact soil, which cuts off oxygen and nutrient supply to the roots. Aeration loosens soil and literally airs out the earth. Balding turf, sparse new growth, pools of water and tough ground are signs you need to aerate.
4. Level and reseed. Start spring on the level ground by filling ruts and low spots where water collects now. Early fall is the best time to reseed a lawn so turf roots establish before winter. Loosen soil with a detaching rake, add a soil amendment and evenly apply seed.
5. Divide plants. If your perennials are overcrowded, fall is an ideal time to divide the root ball and replant. Cutting back the plants prior to transplanting can reduce shock.
6. Plant fall bulbs. Plant in fall to enjoy sprint's first blooms-crocus, daffodil, tulip. The best time to plant is after the first frost so the bulbs will stay cool all winter. Dig holes for bulbs and fertilize before replacing soil.
7. Pick up leaves. Fall cleanup will save time for gardening come spring, and clearing your lawn of leaves and sticks will prevent the heavy, wet foliage from suffocating the turf. Dark, moist environments are breeding grounds for disease.
8. Mow low. Make the last mowing of the season a short cut since you'll retire lawn equipment until spring comes around again.
9. Decorate for the holidays. Fall is the time to think festive! Draw attention to your landscape with lighting, and find ways to incorporate a pop of color by filling containers with seasonal selections - mums for fall.
10. Clean up your act. Wash down the patio furniture and store it for the season. Make sure to pick up toys so they don't get buried or lost.
Credit: Eric Mateo, owner Colonial Hills Lawncare colonialhillslawncare.com