The winter season can be extremely harsh on your lawn; therefore, it is necessary to take some measures during the fall season so your lawn stays healthy during the winter. The temperatures and rainfall during the fall are ideal for germination of grass seeds. You should cover any bare patches in your lawn during the fall. If you plant the seeds later than September, the grass will appear in spring. Further measures you should take include: mowing, fertilizing and weed control.
The ideal length of the lawn grass is two to two-and-a-half inches during the fall. The grass should be longer during summer so it has enough moisture to counter the high temperatures. If you leave the grass longer than three inches during the fall, it can get diseased during the winter. A length shorter than two inches will increase the chance of the grass dying during the winter.
You should frequently rake the lawn during fall so there are no dead leaves present when winter arrives. When the dead leaves and grass thaw after winter, they produce phosphates and nitrates that mix with the surface water. High phosphate and nitrate levels are harmful to grass. You can dispose of dead leaves by composting, chopping finely or bagging them for removal by the garbage company.
Watering and Fertilizing
During the fall, your lawn gets the required water in the form of rainfall. If your lawn gets less than one inch of rainfall every week, you should water it yourself. You should fertilize your lawn anytime between September and late October. A standard fertilizer (high in nitrogen) should be good enough unless the phosphorus levels in the lawn soil are low. In that case, you can use a "winterizing" fertilizer.
Weeds, such as dandelions and clover, can be a persistent menace to your lawn. They suck away the nutrients your grass needs to flourish. You can remove some weeds by hand, but tougher weeds need to be sprayed with herbicides. Herbicides work best in temperatures above 50 degrees, so treat the lawn before winter arrives.