Car­son Arthur

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - HOMES - BY CAR­SON ARTHUR

Fall is the per­fect time to get your lawn prepped for spring — and Septem­ber is the month to do it.

Most home­own­ers ig­nore their lawns in the fall but the cooler weather is fan­tas­tic for your grass. Dur­ing this time of year, your lawn is ac­tively stor­ing wa­ter, nu­tri­ents and gen­er­at­ing en­ergy so it can make it through a long win­ter. If you take care of it now, you’ll have a health­ier, lusher look­ing patch of green in the spring.

Now is the time to lower the blade on your mower. I keep mine be­tween three and three-and-a-half inches dur­ing the warmer months. In the fall, it is time to drop it down to two inches to al­low more sun­light to get to the crown of the grass. There are a cou­ple of things to re­mem­ber — never cut off more than one-third of Coun­try Gar­dens the blade length at a time. This is re­ally hard on the grass. You can lower the mower once by a third, and then again by a third in the sec­ond cut­ting. If you have a bag­ging op­tion, now is a good time to put it on. By re­mov­ing some of the cut blades of grass, of­ten called thatch, you al­low bet­ter air­flow around the crowns of your lawn.

Aer­at­ing in the fall is also a great solution for get­ting oxy­gen, mois­ture and nu­tri­ents to the roots. The best aer­a­tors re­move plugs of soil that are three inches long. This is the per­fect depth to reach the roots be­low the ground.

Feed­ing the lawn in the fall is ac­tu­ally more im­por­tant in my mind than do­ing it in the spring. The fall fer­til­izer helps the roots grow be­low the soil, en­cour­ag­ing an ear­lier and deeper flush of green grass once the snow melts. Look for fer­til­iz­ers like a 0-6-6 com­bi­na­tion. Make sure to avoid a fer­til­izer with a high first num­ber, as this en­cour­ages more leaf growth above ground. Instead, get a high mid­dle and last num­ber. This pro­motes root growth and im­proves the over­all health of your lawn.

I wait un­til early Oc­to­ber for my last fer­til­iz­ing of the year.

I like to top-dress the bald spots in my lawn at the end of Septem­ber. The oc­ca­sional rain­fall and the cooler temps are per­fect for seed start­ing. When buy­ing your grass seed mix, also get a bag of top­soil. By blend­ing the two be­fore you spread the mix on the lawn, you get a higher rate of ger­mi­na­tion of the seeds be­cause you’ve en­sured the seedto-soil con­tact that they need to grow.

Weeds are also get­ting ready to go through the win­ter months. This makes them ex­tra sus­cep­ti­ble to her­bi­cides and nat­u­ral treat­ments as they are in full ab­sorp­tion-mode. Just be care­ful and fol­low the in­struc­tions on what­ever weed solution you de­cide to go with and wait un­til the end of Oc­to­ber to ap­ply. This is ex­tra im­por­tant in the ar­eas that you’ve planted new seeds so they have a chance to get bet­ter estab­lished.

Fi­nally, rake those leaves. Get­ting the leaves off the lawn be­fore they be­come a wet mat that smoth­ers your lawn is so im­por­tant.

Try these steps and you’ll be the envy of the neigh­bour­hood with the green­est and hap­pi­est lawn on the block.

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