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 Fall Lawn Care

 By Hans Dekker

I wish I had indulged my yard in a little tender-loving fall lawn care. Today I’m looking out my window at an all-too familiar Midwestern winter. Snow for Christmas and then a few days of warmth melted the insulating blanket away, leaving my lawn bare and susceptible to the terrors of an after-thaw ice storm.

It’s easy in the warm spring to roll up our sleeves and get out the rakes, aerators, spreaders and mowers. After all, we can celebrate putting away the snow shovels and snow blower! However, although spring lawn care is important, a good fall lawn care program ensures that we’ll have a lawn to tend when spring rolls around!

I could have started my fall lawn care with a final mowing. However, the grass seemed to quit growing… so I quit mowing. Silly me! A final mowing, lowering my mower blade about ½ inch would have helped me to easily implement the rest of my plan and prepared my lawn to face the perils of winter.

Before I knew it, my fall lawn care plan got soaked and blew away during a windy-rainy autumn. Top-dressing my lawn would have been a pain. The grass was too long for even finely ground compost to reach the soil and I just couldn’t see myself shivering in the chilly autumn as I used the flat side of my garden rake to spread an eighth inch of it over my wet yard.

Our red maple, beautiful in autumn, is the last on our block to drop its leaves, so, I waited to rake. In the meantime, all the neighbors’ leaves covered my lawn and wouldn’t you know it? By the time the maple was bare, autumn rains were constant and cold. Fall lawn care was the last thing on my mind! Those half-decayed leaves are going to be a mess to clean up next spring, in addition to blocking out the first warm rays of sunshine and impeding the warm spring rains that my grass would certainly have enjoyed!

So, this year our turf has to “weather the weather” and I’ll spend my winter wondering if it will maintain the energy to raise it’s blades to the sun after it pokes through that wet mess of leaves. However, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that I’ll be staring at brown patches until summer due to my abandoned fall lawn care plan.

Good thing it’s a new year! I resolve to implement my fall lawn care plan next fall.

1.Cut my lawn one last time when I notice it’s stopped growing.
2.Top-dress my grass with a thin layer of compost, not to keep it warm (I’m not that silly!), but to add one last batch of nutrients to the soil!
3.Spade compost into bare spots and reseed them to give them a head start on spring growth.
4.Rake autumn leaves to maximize my grass’s chance at getting its share of warm spring rains and sunshine.




About the Author

Hans is the owner and one of the editors of
Lawn Mower Guide a Collection of
Articles about Lawn Mowers and Lawn Care

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