Posts Tagged ‘fall cleanup’

Late fall lawn tips: mowing and raking

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.  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.

Fall leaf removal is important to your lawn.

Fall leaf removal is important to your lawn.

Another important item on the fall checklist is the final mowing.  I get this question asked a lot, “How short do I mow my lawn and when should the final cut be?”  Generally, the final cut should be in November in our geographic area.  The final mowing should range right around 1.5”, depending upon grade, because an uneven lawn may be severely scalped if cut this low. So be sure to just mow short without kicking up soil!  A short cut can help minimize snow mold, winter kill, ice damage, and even mouse damage.  This is the only time of year I recommend a 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 and keep it clean before the snow flies for a happier and greener lawn next spring!  

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Last minute fall lawn projects

A wonderful Turkey on a nice lawn!

 

Its quarter to Thanksgiving and you are fully engulfed in travel preparations, shopping, and cooking plans.  As the air cools there is little time to make sure your lawn is ready for winter.  Was the last mowing 2 months ago or in October?  Some projects can wait while others should be done before the snow flies!  Here is a quick five step list that is given in order of importance, with 1 being the most important!

5.  Change the oil on your mower, clean the air filter, inspect the spark plug, and lubricate the blade and undercarriage in preparation for an easy first mowing.

4.  Take the time to review your 2011 lawn health care proposal or contract during the winter so come spring time, your turf will receive the care it needs at the appropriate time.  Like reviewing seed catalogs for your garden, lots of planning can be done concerning your lawn during the winter in preparation for a busy spring.

3.  Mark or have your driveway marked with colored stakes along the edge of the lawn so the plow guy minimizes shredding the edges.  Grass growing along a driveway is prime crabgrass growing area, especially if you need to seed in the spring or replace torn up turf chunks.  Nothing says sadness than viewing former pieces of healthy sod upside down with a light gravel coating in April!

2.  Rake and or remove any debris piles.  Piles of leaves, wood, tarps, branches, gravel- anything that stops an air exchange steps up winter kill and dead patches come spring time.

1.  Mow the lawn shorter than usual. 1.5 to 2” is great.  A shorter cut helps prevent leaves from accumulating in piles as the wind moves them across your nicely trimmed, semi- dormant turf.  A shorter cut helps with snow mold and ice damage and provides a faster green up in the spring allowing the sun to warm the soil quicker.

Wishing each of you a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday!

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A dirty lawn!

Cut short & remove the leaves before winter!

 

A dirty lawn covered with leaves and left uncut entering the winter is at great peril for winter damage.  Besides blocking sunlight in the late fall before snowfall, leaves restrict normal air circulation and the ability of the lawn to dry out.  Even small piles of leaves can mulch or weaken your grass in mere weeks if left uncollected.  Those same piles or heavy leaf cover will freeze and inhibit air circulation under the snow- a recipe for disaster.  A clean lawn is a happy lawn!

Now is not the time to retire your mower in early November, especially if the grass is still over 3 inches in height.  Your lawn has the potential to still grow another inch or more before snowfall and that added length predisposes your turf to snow mold!  Matted, wet turf is an ideal habitat for mice, snow mold, and ice damage.  Do yourself a simple favor this weekend or afternoon, cut your lawn down to 1.5” and help give your grass an edge going into winter.  No one likes a dirty lawn!  Clean up your lawn today and sleep well tonight!

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