Have you gotten your lawn ready for winter?

Did you know you have until Halloween to prepare your lawn for its winter sleep? Did you know that fall prep is just as important as getting your yard ready in the spring? Oh, I know that we can’t wait to get out in the yard when the first dandelions peek out, but in order to hinder those little yellow weeds, there are about four things we should do now.

You need to Aerate. For proper aeration, earth plugs actually need to be pulled out of the ground and not just punched into the ground. This process gives more room for your grass giving it less competition with the weeds. The pulled out plugs breaks up compacted turf allowing oxygen, water and nutrients to the roots giving grass seed room to sprout.

If your lawn has a lot of play on it from kids, you may want to aerate twice a year – fall and summer. However, if you have no traffic on your yard, the best time would be fall only.

There are inexpensive ways of aerating your yard yourself by hand or renting a machine (lawnmower size). However, if you want to enjoy your fall, you may want it professionally done.

Plant Grass Seed.  Don’t cheap out on grass seed! Turf roots grow vigorously in fall and winter, so when soil temperatures are 55 degrees, spread out that grass seed!

Kentucky grass seed resists drought, disease and insects and is worth the extra dollars. The less expensive grass contains hollow husks, weed seed and annual rye – you won’t have as lush of yard.

After you seed your yard, water every day for 10 to 20 days until it germinates.

Spread the Fertilizer! Since we really haven’t had it yet, you will want to do this before first frost. This helps your yard survive our harsh winters and helps it green up in spring. Your last fertilization will want to consist of high phosphorous (10% to 15%). This is critical for strong roots. If phosphorous won’t work, nitrogen will also help with grass growth.

 Mulch Mulch Mulch! Unless you have kids and want to have large leaf piles to jump into, run over the leaves in your yard several times with your lawn mower grinding them into itty bitty pieces. These actually protect the grass from the winds of winter and desiccation. AND the leaves decompose into organic matter for the grass roots.

To make the leaves into tinier pieces, a mulching blade can also be put on the mower.