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.
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!