Prepping Your Louisville Lawn for Winter
Six tips for a greener spring in the Bluegrass
by MIKE HALL, Owner/ Broker/ Agent
The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of lawn care. We may be far from that that lush, springtime Louisville bluegrass, but did you know a green lawn is born in the fall? Follow these tips from HouseLogic for green lawn perfection.
Keep on Mowing
Continue to water and mow your lawn, as needed, throughout the fall. Then as the Louisville’s winter nears, drop the mower's blade to its lowest setting for the last two cuttings of the year. That will allow more sunlight to reach the crown of the grass, and there will be less leaf to turn brown during the winter.
Aerate the Soil
Fall is also an ideal time to aerate your lawn so that oxygen, water, and fertilizer can easily reach the grass's roots.
Tip: You can rent a gas-powered, walk-behind lawn aerator for about $70 per day. The self-propelled machine will quickly punch holes into the soil and extract plugs of dirt, allowing access for moisture to your lawn’s thirsty roots.
Rake the Leaves
It’s the job everyone loves to hate, but this much-needed chore will keep your grass from suffocating under a soggy, fungus-loving mess.
Tip: Whether you mulch or rake, make sure to conquer this task in stages instead of waiting until all the leaves have fallen.
Fertilize Your Lawn
Most lawn experts agree: If you fertilize your lawn only once a year, do it in the fall. The reason? Grass leaves grow much more slowly as the weather turns cool, but the grass roots and rhizomes continue to grow quickly. (Rhizomes are the horizontal plant stems that lie just beneath the soil's surface; they produce the blades of grass above and the roots below.) A fall application of fertilizer delivers essential nutrients for the grass to grow deep roots and to keep nutrients on reserve for a healthy start next spring.
Tip: Wait until mid-to-late fall, then apply a dry lawn fertilizer to all grassy areas; be careful not to miss any spots.
Fill in Bald Spots
Autumn is also a great time of year to fix any bare, bald spots in your lawn. The quickest, easiest way to do this is with an all-in-one lawn repair mixture. Sold at most garden shops and home centers in Louisville, this ready-to-use mixture contains grass seed, a special quick-starter lawn fertilizer, and organic mulch.
Tip: Use a garden rake to scratch loose the soil at the bald spot in your lawn. Then spread a thick layer of the lawn repair mixture over the area. Lightly compact the mixture, then water thoroughly, and continue to water every other day for two weeks.
If broadleaf weeds like dandelions have taken over your lawn, now's the time to fight back. Weeds, like most plants, are in the energy-absorbing mode during the fall. They're drinking in everything that comes their way, including weed killers. Apply an herbicide now and the weeds won't return in the spring.
Tip: Read the package label before use. Most herbicide manufacturers recommend applying the weed killer during early-to-mid autumn, when daytime temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.