Love for lawns in the fall can make for a green spring

Published 8:55 pm Thursday, August 18, 2011

With the right amount of attention, lawns can continue to look good through the fall, and a little love this time of year can make the difference for a yard that needs improvement.

During the fall, lawn grasses increase their growing rate and strengthen as the weather goes from blazing hot to breezy and cool.

And while the grasses go dormant in the winter, their roots rely on stored food while they continue to grow under the ground until spring.

Taking special care in the lawn, particularly with aeration and fertilizing, during the fall can make for a better-looking yard in the spring.

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During the fall, there are steps every homeowner can take to ensure a beautiful lawn coming in next spring.

The first thing to do to treat your lawn is to pay special attention to the soil. Healthy soil filled with microorganisms, worms and other beneficial bugs will encourage healthy grass.

With healthy soil, you won’t spend as much time weeding and fertilizing the grass.

Aerating your soil leaves plenty of room for water, nutrients and air to help roots grow more easily. It holds waters in but also encourages excess drainage.

In addition to aerating and encouraging healthy soil, adding soil conditioners can improve the condition of your lawn.

Conditioners are not fertilizers; instead, they help improve soil’s drainage and water holding capacity and encourage plant growth in a healthy soil.

Along with making sure you have healthy soil, it’s also good to remove thatch, the layer of dead grass that settles between the soil and the grass. A lot of thatch can interfere with nutrient and water absorption.

To measure how much thatch your lawn has, take a 6-inch-deep plug sample of grass and soil and measure the thickness of the thatch. If it more than a half an inch thick, it can impede your grass’s growth.

Thatch can be removed manually in a small area with a thick-bladed rake, but bigger yards might call for a power-thatching mower with blades that cut through the thatch zone and bring it to the surface.

Finally, fertilize your lawn with a product that further encourages growth during the fast-growing autumn months.

Getting a balanced fertilizer can refresh soil health, plant nutrition and growth, and germination.

With a little attention before and during the fall, lawns can spend the winter preparing to come up beautifully next spring.