Whether you're attempting to increase your curb appeal for a home sale or simply want to keep a clean yard, you'll need to keep up with your lawn care duties in autumn. Sure, the temperatures are starting to decline, and the days are getting shorter. However, that doesn't mean you can neglect your home's exterior.
When it comes to home sales, autumn tends to be a slow season compared to spring. As such, you may need to work harder to convince interested individuals to buy your home. If the lawn looks a mess, there's a chance you'll turn some buyers away, especially if they take the unkempt turf as a sign the property inspection will reveal more serious issues.
Here are some tips for keeping your lawn crisp through the fall:
- Remove dead leaves. This lawn maintenance task is a staple of autumn. Break out your rake and leaf blower to keep the falling leaves off your lawn. Not only do leaves hide your luscious grass, they can also release chemicals when they are frozen during the winter. These chemicals can become part of surface water when the ice thaws in spring. You can also use your mower's mulching blade to break up the leaves into a compost for your lawn.
- Remove thatch. Before you put your rake back in your tool shed, check your lawn for thatch, which is a layer of dead organic material, including grass clippings, that can build on the surface of your lawn. A thin layer of thatch isn't much of an issue, but a thicker layer can lead to turf diseases and insect troubles. Depending on the thickness, you may need a vertical mower or power rake to remove thatch. For thinner layers, you can use your standard rake.
- Feed your lawn. Spring isn't the only time to fertilize. Late to mid-October is a good time to give your lawn a final feeding before the snow hits the ground. While you're shoveling snow from your driveway during winter, your lawn will store the nutrients and use them to get a head start on its growth when spring comes around.
- Wage war on weeds. Cold temperatures are no friend to weeds, but these nuisances always find a way to return in spring. Autumn is a great time to tackle these pesky plants - particularly perennial weeds such as dandelions, creeping charlie, clover and plantain - and keep them from harming your lawn in the warmer months. Use a spray herbicide to spot treat patches of weeds. You can also look to weed-and-feed products that fertilize the grass as well as kill weeds.
- Lower your mower height. In summer when temperatures are high, you may have increased the height of your mower to protect your lawn from the heat. In autumn, decrease the height to prevent the grass from matting down underneath snow and leaves.
- Seed and sod your lawn. Repair dead patches with grass seed and sod, as autumn is the best time of your for this task. Not only does reseeding and sodding improve the look of your lawn, but it also helps with weed prevention. It's best to complete this task when temperatures are cooler.
- Water your lawn. Although the sun isn't as harsh on your lawn during autumn, you still need to give your grass water, especially if you're laying down seed and sod. Provide water when its needed and be sure to clear an irrigation system with compressed air before the temperatures drop and water in the pipes freezes.