It’s that time of year again; the leaves are falling, and the weather is cooling down. Does that mean it’s time to change your lawn care routine? Is it time to hang up the mower and let nature take its course?
Mowing is an integral part of lawn care routine, and cutting your grass in the fall can be a great way to keep your yard looking nice and neat. However, there comes a time to stop mowing and let your lawn go dormant. So, when is that time? Read on for answers to those questions and more!
When to Stop Mowing
As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, the growth of your grass will start to slow down. This is nature’s way of preparing your lawn for winter dormancy.
Over the fall, cut your grass shorter each time you mow. Be careful not to scalp your lawn. The goal is to prepare your grass for winter without shocking it. Don’t ever remove more than ⅓ of the blade in one go.
Your lawn must be short come winter since long grass welcomes mice and other small critters to make their homes. They can wreak havoc on your grass.
So, if you have to mow less often, especially around the end of October, it’s a good indication that it’s time to change your lawn care routine. Once your lawn has completely stopped growing, stop mowing it.
How to Prepare Your Lawn for Winter
Autumn is upon us, and it’s time to start thinking about preparing your lawn for winter. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Rake Up Leaves Regularly
Raking leaves is an important part of lawn care. It helps remove debris and build-up that can damage your grass. Raking may also loosen up compacted soil, allowing air and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass.
To get the most out of your leaf raking, start by removing any large leaves or branches from your lawn. These can be composted or disposed of in another way.
Next, use a rake to pick up the leaves from the surface of your lawn. Be sure to rake in the same direction each time to avoid damaging the grass. You can compost the leaves you rake up but omit any inorganic objects (such as plastics) from your batch.
Aerate Your Lawn
By aerating your lawn, you ensure that oxygen and water can reach the roots of your grass, which will help improve drainage and prevent compaction. It promotes a healthy lawn and prepares it for the colder months ahead.
There are two types of aeration: core aeration and spike aeration. Core aeration involves removing small plugs of soil from the lawn, which allows air, water, and nutrients to reach the grass’s roots more easily.
Spike aeration involves poking holes in the lawn with metal or plastic spikes. It doesn’t remove any soil but can be helpful prior to fertilizing your yard. However, since it can actually encourage soil compaction by constricting the soil, it’s not generally recommended.
Note: You should only aerate cool-season grasses in the fall. Aerate warm season grasses in the summer.
Fertilize Your Lawn
When fertilizing your lawn, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. For one, you want to make sure that you do it before the first frost hits. This will help ensure that your grass can better withstand the cold weather.
Another thing to consider is the type of fertilizer you use. There are many different types on the market, so choosing one specifically designed for lawn use is essential. This will help ensure that your lawn gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and green all winter.
Finally, you’ll want to be sure to water your lawn well after fertilizing, which will help the fertilizer to reach down into the roots of the grass, where it will do the most good.
Overseed Your Lawn
To keep your lawn looking its best heading into winter, overseeding is a must. Overseeding is the process of planting grass seed directly into your existing turf. This process gives your lawn a thicker, lusher appearance and helps to crowd out any weeds that might be trying to take hold.
To get started, you’ll need to purchase a good quality grass seed mix from your local garden center or nursery. You’ll also need to aerate your lawn before planting the new seed. Aerating helps to loosen up the soil and allows the new seeds to take root more easily.
Once you’ve prepared your lawn, you can simply scatter the grass seed by hand or use a seed spreader for more even coverage. Be sure to water the newly seeded areas regularly until the grass has had a chance to germinate and grow.
With a little effort, overseeding your lawn in late summer or early fall will give you a beautiful, healthy lawn that can withstand the rigors of winter weather.
Mowing Your Lawn
It’s important to give your lawn a final trim before winter hits. This will help ensure that your grass is healthy and strong when spring arrives. Here are some tips on how to properly mow your lawn before winter:
Set your mower blade to 2 to 3 inches, depending on the type of grass you have. Doing so will prevent the blades from scalping the grass, damaging the roots, and making the grass more susceptible to disease.
Before mowing, remove any debris from the lawn, such as leaves or sticks. This will help prevent the blades from becoming dull or damaged.
After mowing, rake up any clippings and dispose of them properly. Do not leave them on the lawn, as debris can smother the grass and promote disease.
There You Have It!
So, when is the time to stop mowing your lawn and let it go dormant? Well, it turns out, it’s when your grass stops growing! Every yard is different and will have a different optimal time for dormancy. However, this can give you some general guidelines to follow to make the decision yourself.
Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping your lawn looking good during its dormant season? Leave a comment below and share your wisdom!