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Fall Maintenance Q&As

Over the years, we hear some of the same questions from new homeowners and experienced ones alike. It’s hard to know all best practices for fall landscaping maintenance, so we’ve compiled a list that will hopefully provide some useful tips that will be helpful for you.

SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT PRUNING MY TREES AND SHRUBS?

Actually, unless you are a landscape expert, pruning should be avoided between August 15th and September 30th. Pruning plants during this time will stimulate new growth, which is bad because the plants are trying to go dormant. This process can cause trees and shrubs to be severely weakened.

DO I NEED TO AERATE OR OVERSEED MY LAWN?

If you intend to have a lush and thick lawn next year, then it is beneficial for you to overseed this fall. Overseeding helps cool-season lawns heal from damage that has been caused over the summer. The earlier you do this, the better, because you want to give seed time to germinate and mature before the winter season. To ensure proper germination, it is best to aerate the lawn before it’s been overseeded; this allows for better seed to soil contact which is critical to germination.

DO I NEED TO FERTILIZE MY LAWN?

It is important to fertilize two times in the fall at the proper rates: early October and early November. The application of phosphorus during this time period will help stimulate root growth before the grass goes dormant for the winter. The nitrogen in the fertilizer will help the lawn green-up faster in the spring and it’s more likely to be resistant to plant disease and drought.

WHEN SHOULD I WATER TREES?

If your trees are newly installed, then they should be watered up until the first frost. It’s not likely you will have to worry about watering your mature trees in the fall; only water them if they are in a severe drought or are showing signs of stress.

WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO REMOVE/SHRED LEAVES ON THE LAWN?

During the fall is when cool-season grasses are the most active. This is why it is necessary to remove or mulch the leaves in your lawn. Doing this allows the turf to breathe and have access to the sun. Mulching the leaves with a mower is highly suggested, as it allows the organic matter to return to the soil and keeps leaves out of the landfill. Mulching will assure healthy turf and will prevent fungal diseases such as snow mold, which can be caused by, among others thing, from piles of leaves.

HOW DO I CONTROL THE WEEDS IN MY LAWN?

If you want to control weeds in your lawn, then it is important to put down an application of broadleaf weed control in the fall. The weeds will absorb the chemicals through the foliage but leave the turf intact.

If you plan on overseeding your lawn in the fall, it is beneficial to apply the weed control a minimum of two weeks in advance. This allows the grass seed to germinate without competing with interfering weeds.

HOW SHOULD I MOW THE LAWN?

Cool season turf should be kept at a height of 3 to 4 inches throughout the year. A tip from our property management team is to mow the turf at about 2 1/2 inches for the last cut of the season. This will help prevent disease. It is important not to mow the turf too short because as the majority of the nutrient intake comes from the leaf blade. Proper horticulture practice is to remove only one-third of the turf blade at any given time.

DO I NEED TO WATER THE LAWN?

It is essential to water your lawn during dry conditions even in cooler temperatures; this keeps it healthy and promotes new growth. It’s also important new seed stays moist. Proper watering during this time will help the grass during winter months and continue until the ground begins to freeze.

Written by : Chapel Valley Team