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Preparing Your Lawn For Winter

Yes, it’s only September and too early to think about winter. But the reality is that winter isn’t that far off and some of the winterizing tasks for your lawn need to be done at least a month before the first frost.

Your lawn may need more than just lowering your mower. It could need aerating, fertilizing and overseeding. Start with aerifying, which removes plugs of sod from the lawn. The purpose is to let compacted soil expand and fill the areas created by removing the plugs. The expanded soil then has more area, known as pores, for the water and air grass roots need to be healthy.

Aerifying machines can be rented from tool rental stores if you feel really ambitious. My prediction is that, if you do it once, you’ll leave it to our lawn care professionals the next time. So, save yourself the not-so-pleasant experience and let us do it. When you compare our cost with what you pay to rent the machine and transport it back and forth from the rental store, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

When aerifying, the plugs of sod are left on the top of the ground to decompose and return nutrients to the soil. But this usually doesn’t provide the full amount of nutrients the soil needs to support a lawn. Consequently, your lawn will need a fall fertilization. Wait until the aerification process is completed so that there will be more pore space for the fertilizer.

Lawns whose turf is thin or suffered damage during the dry summer should be overseeded. Otherwise, you’re opening the door for weeds to take over. Weeds are stronger plants than grass, so their seeds germinate anywhere the grass is thin or dead.

After you’ve aerified and fertilized and given the fertilizer sufficient time to sink into the soil, rake the area to be overseeded. You’ll probably be surprised at the amount of thatch and grass clippings you’ll rake up. If you have a compost pile, that would be a good place to put the organic debris that you rake up. It should be noted that thatch is dead grass plants that accumulate in the turf, not grass clipping, as many believe.

The next step is to spread the grass seed at the rate indicated on the package label. The seed can be spread by hand when overseeding small areas. However, a wheeled spreader is better for large areas or entire lawns. After you’ve spread the seed, lightly rake the area to be sure the seeds are in contact with the soil. That’s the only way they’ll germinate. Finally, water well to maximize the seed/soil contact. This should be completed a month to six weeks before the date of the typical first frost.

If you want a lush lawn without the work involved, our lawn care professionals can do the complete overseeding as well as the aerifying. Then all you’ll have to do is wait for spring to enjoy your renewed lawn.

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