Fall is just around the corner at Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, and Truckee. From the middle of September to the end of October, you can enjoy breathtaking sights of red, orange, and yellow foliage. A quick hike to Donner Lake, to Jackson Meadows, or along the Truckee River will give you and your family a memorable experience as you drink in the views and admire local aspen trees.
But as you take the time to appreciate Mother Nature this fall season, don’t forget to take a closer look at your own backyard. If you want your lawn and garden to flourish come spring, you’ll need to perform the following fall maintenance tasks.
1. Aerate Your Lawn
Over the summer months, foot traffic, poor drainage, and lawn mowers mash down the soil in your lawn. As your soil compacts, the plants and shrubs have fewer pores and spaces to extend their roots, resulting in poor nutrient uptake and water filtration.
Lawn aeration gives your grass and other plants room to breathe. The process loosens the soil and promotes better air flow. And it breaks up dead vegetation and thatch.
Although you can aerate your lawn in the spring, most experts recommend aerating during the fall season. In the fall, plants busily spread their roots in preparation for winter, and aeration enables them to push out even further and to properly absorb fertilizers before they enter their dormant state.
Additionally, if you aerate in the fall, you won’t have to worry about weeds sending out new seeds, quickly filling the new gaps in your lawn.
2. Trim the Grass
Each grass species has its own ideal mowing height. Kentucky bluegrass, for example, grows best when trimmed to 2.5 inches. Perennial ryegrass and red fescue, similarly, do well at 2.5 inches. But tall fescue should stay trimmed at 3 inches.
During the fall, your grass will gradually stop growing its blades and shift focus to growing roots, so you can finally stop cutting your lawn every other week. But during that final fall cut, you may want to trim your grass slightly shorter than you normally would in preparation for the winter season.
If you leave your grass too long, the snow and rain will bend the top growth until the blades create a shield or roof over your soil. This shield traps moisture against the roots, increasing the likelihood of fungal growth and disease.
To keep your grass healthy during the winter, do a little research and set your mower to the lowest recommended setting for your grass species. Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, red fescue, and tall fescue can trim to as low as 1.5 without risking damage.
3. Apply Fertilizer
Hot temperatures, drought, and disease wreak havoc on your lawn during the summer months. But as the temperatures cool and the weather calms, your grasses have the chance to recover from the damage and store carbohydrate reserves for the winter.
When you apply fertilizer during the fall, you give the roots and shoots the nutrients they need to grow and develop: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Nitrogen encourages root growth, protecting your grass from disease. Phosphorous also promotes root growth and disease immunity. And potassium strengthens your grass against frigid temperatures.
For best results, you want to initially feed your lawn in early September. Then, in late October or mid-November, you’ll want to reapply fertilizer.
Hire a Maintenance Team to Prep Your Yard
The above checklist will help prepare your lawn for the winter. However, if you want to see the best results in the spring, you’ll need to bring in a professional landscaping crew to maintain your property for you.
Expert landscapers can do more than trim the grass or apply the right amount of fertilizer. The right team will also provide pest control services so bugs and other pests stay out of your home when the temperature drops. And a thorough crew will spray for weeds, remove debris from your walks and driveway, and shut down your sprinkler system.
With a little extra maintenance, your yard will look just as stunning and inviting as the local trails this season.