Caring For Autumn Lawns – Lawn Care Tips For The Fall

Lawn Mower Cutting Grass
fall lawn
(Image credit: Ozgur Coskun)

Your lawn did its part, now it’s your turn. All summer long your lawn offered its welcoming green carpet for your family activities, but, come fall, it needs some help to keep looking its best. As a homeowner, you know that this is one call you have to heed. Read on for information on the care of lawns in fall.

How to Take Care of Lawns in Fall

Fall lawn care is critical to a maintaining a beautiful front yard. You’ll need to change the cultural care you offered your grass in summer to fit the new season and the lawn’s needs. Here are some lawn care tips for the fall:

  • Watering – When you are caring for autumn lawns, watch your irrigation. With the dry, hot summer behind you, your lawn needs less to drink. While reducing irrigation is an essential part of caring for autumn lawns, don’t stop watering abruptly. You need to keep minimal irrigation going all winter long unless your area gets at least 1 inch (2.5 cm.) of precipitation a week.
  • Mowing – Keep mowing! You thought you could stop mowing the grass when the kids returned to school? Think again. You need to keep mowing as long as the lawn is growing. For the final, before-winter mow, cut cool-season grasses to 2½ inches (6 cm.) and warm-season grasses between 1½ and 2 inches (4-5 cm.). This is an important part of lawn maintenance in autumn.
  • Mulching leaves – Care of lawns in fall requires you to get out the garden tools. Those tree leaves that have fallen on your grass may be thick enough to smother it, but raking and burning isn’t necessary. To take care of lawns in fall, use a mulching mower to shred the leaves into small pieces. Leave these in place to protect and nourish your lawn through winter.
  • Fertilizing – Fall lawn care includes feeding your lawn if you have cool-season grass. Warm-season grasses should not get fed until spring. Be sure to use a slow-release granular fertilizer. Put on garden gloves, then sprinkle the correct amount evenly over your lawn. Water the area well unless rain arrives within a few days.
  • Seeding – If your cool-season grass is looking bare or bald in spots, you can reseed it as part of lawn maintenance in autumn, since the ground is usually warm enough to germinate grass seeds. Sprinkle the appropriate type of lawn seeds on those spots that need help. Use seeds at about half the recommended rate for new lawns. Replenish warm-season lawns in springtime, not as part of lawn care in fall.
Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.