It's expected that the grass on the front lawn is going to turn brown and go dormant this time of year, but what should homeowners do to ensure that their lawn is prepared for the much cooler weather still ahead?
According to Richard Marsh, owner of Big R's Lawn Care in Martinez, the rule of thumb is to go ahead and prepare your lawn now for next spring's growing season.
"If your lawn goes dormant healthy, it'll come out healthy," said Marsh.
Just what should be done right now, though? First and foremost, clean out excess yard debris. That means the falling leaves and pine straw need to be raked and removed from the lawn in order to ensure better air circulation during the winter. And Marsh insists that fertilizing your lawn now is imperative to a beautiful yard next year.
By giving your lawn some breathing room, you will ensure that it will be healthy next year. That means either hire someone to aerate your lawn or rent a machine and do it yourself. When a lawn is aerated, it removes small soil plugs, leaving holes that provide a direct path for air, water and nutrients to reach the grass' roots. According to many experts, lawns older than seven years should be aerated yearly.
"It's not rocket science," said Marsh of fall lawn care. "Basically, clean old trash out before the next growing season starts and don't cut or run a mower over the lawn all winter."
In fact, most grasses shouldn't be shorter than about two inches by the end of the season. The closer cut allows for better air circulation. The jury is still out on whether or not to bag the final grass clippings of the season or leave them be -- some say that by leaving the clippings where they fall, you are providing a little extra nutrition to the yard; others say that by doing so, you are exposing your lawn to weed seeds.
Marsh says it's not necessary to water warm-weather grasses during the fall and winter, as the lawn will go dormant during the season anyway. And, that should be welcome news considering the current drought our state is facing.
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