Posts Tagged ‘fall clean up’

Late fall lawn tips: raking and mowing

You know the lawns, the ones that stay buried in leaves from October until Memorial Day or the perfectly clean ones where not a single leaf can be found by Thanksgiving. Although these two kinds of lawns are at opposite ends of the autumn-leaf-removal spectrum, the point is made; you should do something about those leaves before the snow flies.

 

 

A clean, healthy green lawn will better handle winter issues.

A clean, healthy green lawn will better handle winter issues.

Heavy leaf cover acts like mulch and remember, we mulch to keep weeds and seeds from germinating in our landscape. The deeper the leaf cover and the larger the piles, the more likely this lawn will thin out or end up as bare ground come late spring. The best solution to lots of leaves is a late season cleanup in November, well after foliage season has passed.

 
While obtaining a perfectly clean lawn is not necessary, a good raking or professional cleanup will go a long way toward protecting your lawn come winter. This way, next spring when things starting growing, your lawn can join the green-up and not be inhibited or damaged from heavy leaf cover left over from the prior year.

 
Another important item on the fall checklist is the final mowing. I get these questions a lot, “How short do I mow my lawn and when should the final cut be?” Generally, in northern New England, the final cut should be in November. The final mowing height should range right around 1.5”, depending upon grade, because an uneven lawn may be severely scalped if cut this low.

 

 

 

A healthy fall lawn

 

A short cut can help minimize snow mold, winter kill, ice damage, and even vole damage as outlined in my earlier post http://www.mrgrassblog.net/2014/10/20/mole-voles-landscape/. This is the only time of year I recommend a very short cut! A lawn that is left long (over 3”) is in jeopardy and greater peril for damage from the aforementioned issues. Add to that excessive leaf cover and your lawn can soon turn into a parking area versus a green space to enjoy.

 

The moral of today’s blog post is to cut your lawn short in November and keep it relatively leaf free before the snow flies for a happier and greener lawn next spring!

 

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Don’t let matted leaves and early snow get you down

Clean up your yard before winter snow stays

Most folks got at least a few inches of snow this past weekend during a record setting October snow storm.  The impact on your lawn can be summed up in a few basic scenarios with the first involving moderate to substantial leaf litter on the ground now snow covered.  Left uncollected, these piles of leaves can be trouble for your lawn as colder weather approaches with snow that will not melt until spring.  As soon as you can remove leaf piles and other debris brought down by the heavy, wet snow you should plan on doing so to prevent smothering areas of your lawn.  The thicker the leaf pile, the better it will mulch your grass leaving dead spots and bare areas next year.

If you have your driveway plowed, now is a great time to put up stakes marking the edge of the lawn indicating the transition from gravel or pavement to grass.  Snow plow damage becomes visible in the spring time as snow recedes, exposing chunks of sod and grass tossed aside to dry out and die.  Without help, snow plow operators can have difficulty determining where your driveway ends and the lawn begins.  Such an error is commonplace during late night snow storms and can result in significant lawn damage.  Using posts, stakes, or sticks can provide a simple, yet effective signal and minimize or prevent the edge of your lawn from being “relocated”.

Even though it is now November, if you got caught with your lawn still needing another cut- say over 3” in height- don’t feel odd pulling out your mower for one last farewell mowing.  Many folks can remove leaves and mow simultaneously so this is a great opportunity to “get two birds with one stone” as the saying goes.  A clean, short cut in November is one way you can say “I love you” to your lawn before the onset of winter.

Many tree limbs were damaged by the weight of the snow with leaves still turning colors, many still green!  Be sure to have those branches cleanly pruned to help reduce future insect and disease damage.  Of course, remove as many downed branches on your lawn as possible, leaving the lawn surface as clean as possible before winter truly arrives.  Completing these basic housekeeping items can give your landscape the edge it might need to survive an unpredictable winter.

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