Posts Tagged ‘leaves’

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!


Autumn leaf removal, simple yet important

As the air cools and summer fades into piles of colored leaves, your lawn beckons attention before the snow covers it with a blanket of white.  Some lawn projects can be simple like raking on a regular basis or mowing with a vacuum bag style tractor system.  Raking, or specifically a lack of leaves allows your lawn to capture more sunlight as the deciduous trees lose their green canopy.  Increased sunlight can really help shaded and weak areas capture additional energy to help prepare for the winter.  In some cases, this vital time period could be a month or more of growing before slowing to the point of near dormancy with the onset of freezing weather.  Any leaves left on the lawn can cause a mulching action by inhibiting sunlight from reaching the leaf blades below.  Don’t allow piles of leaves to sit for weeks on end, or the grass underneath will suffer the consequences possibly even leading to damage.  Keeping your lawn clean in the fall can really improve the chances of winter survival and minimize damage.  Turf that is left covered with leaves or lots of pine needles face a lack of air, light, and often succumb to ice damage in a weakened state.  As simple as raking or leaf removal is, it is very important to all lawns to approach winter clear as opposed to buried out of sight under leaf litter.

Autumn is also a great time harden your lawn off for winter.  A wonderful mowing height during the growing season is 3″ as a standard.  Your mowing height can be lowered as October fades into November.  Drop your mowing deck a half-inch a week starting in late October with the final cut in mid November being around 1 to 1.5 inches in height.  The slow drop in mowing height helps harden your lawn off and slows growth in addition to falling temperatures.  Many folks put their mowers away much too early in October when the lawn continues to grow well into November in many years sometimes to the Thanksgiving holiday break in southern areas of NH or VT.  Some of the most simple cultural things like mowing and raking can make or break some turf grass areas between not only looking great, but awesome.  The preventative care in raking and mowing can yield big dividends over a harsh winter- aiding in survival and spring recovery.  Turf that goes into the winter long and by that I mean a normal height of 3″ or more- will be predisposed to snow mold and ice damage, even more so with leaf or needle debris.

Plan ahead now and rest easy this winter knowing you did all you could to help your lawn make it into a new year!

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