Did you know that the best way to ensure a thick, green, and healthy lawn in the spring is to give it some proper care in the fall? Yep, that’s right – lawn care experts can say a BIG yes to that. If you think that the end of summer is also the end of maintaining your lawn, then you’re definitely wrong.
It doesn’t mean that when it’s autumn, your lawn requires lesser care, in fact, just the opposite true, especially in Reno. Fall is an ideal time to prepare your lawn for the next spring and since fall is already upon us, then you better start giving your lawn the tender, loving care that it needs.
Furthermore, you might be asking why? Well, here’s the explanation. When fall comes, the grass in your lawn is actively absorbing energy, moisture, and nutrients in preparation for a long, dormant winter.
So, don’t make the most common mistake among domestic lawns or landscapes, instead, learn the expert ways to make your landscaping successful. All the more, you should start paying attention to what you have to do this season. No worries, here are the seven secrets you ought to do to properly take good care of your lawn this fall.
Rake The Leaves
This season, a lot of leaves will certainly fall on your lawn – it may look like a good addition to color, but it’s not. Raking the leaves doesn’t even scream fun, but you have to do it as often as you can. Fallen leaves block the light and trap moisture which will affect the growth of your turf underneath. Besides, Reno is known to have 252 days of sunshine on average, and certainly you wouldn’t want your turf or lawn to miss that.
Aside from that, if the leaves will become wet from rain and morning dew, it will turn into a soggy mat that will suffocate the grass and breed fungal diseases that will lead to the death of the grass as well as other plants around it. So, don’t wait for the leaves to pile up – rake them immediately and avoid decaying mat to cause any harm.
Aerate The Soil
Fall is also an ideal time to loosen your soil and let it breathe. Doing aeration once every couple of years allows water, oxygen, and nutrients from reaching the soil faster. If not, your soil will form become compressed and covered with a layer of thatch (excessive accumulation of dead organic matter on your lawn such as stems, roots, and leaves, etc.) which will hinder all the nourishment that your lawn needs.
In order to do this, you can manually a border fork into the soil, or use a hollow Tiner, which pulls out plugs of soil. On the other hand, if you prefer to do it in a faster way, you can rent or purchase a gas-powered, walk-behind lawn aerator.
Fill In Thin Or Bald Spots
Did you see any thin or bald spots in your lawn recently? Then fill them up this fall. One way to do this is to reseed your lawn to make it dense. After aerating your soil, it’s best to start spreading seed to your existing turf this fall because the ground is still warm, it’s not so hot during the day, moisture is ample and the nights are cool.
Using a garden rake, loosen the soil at the thin or bald spot in your lawn then spread certified seeds (almost purely grass seed with very little weed seeds and no fillers) or you can opt for lawn repair mixtures, just check and ask local garden shops for these.
Now, one of the most effective techniques to cure bald spots is reseeding. For this procedure, you have to use the right type of grass considering the climate and soil in Reno. According to experts, the best choice is Perennial Rye Grass which grows fast in the spring and fall. There are other good options such as Bermuda grass, Fescue Grass and Kentucky Blue grass. What’s common with these grass types? They’re all highly drought tolerant and can withstand the heat, specifically the climate in Reno which is mostly sunny.
You can plant Bermuda in spring and reseed with Perennial Rye in fall. Or, you can opt for other grass types we’ve mentioned previously and reseed using the same grass.
Don’t Slack On Watering
Now, after you have done tips #2 and #3, the next thing you have to do is to continue watering your lawn. Watering is essential for the grass to flourish especially after reseeding your soil. When the temperature gets cooler, it’s paramount to keep the grass roots and all evergreens sufficiently watered in order to avoid dehydration in the winter which is why regular watering is required.
To do this, you can install sprinklers or irrigation system and keep them working until the end of October. You should only stop watering your lawn when the ground freezes, regardless of the snowfall that you anticipate. On average, Reno is receiving .08 inches of precipitation during fall which is why you still have to water your lawn once or twice to keep it hydrated before winter comes. It’s best to water one day a week, tapering off to every other week and might as well check your irrigation system often for leaks, breaks in the line and broken sprinkler heads.
Note: TMWA (Truckee Meadows Water Authority) holds irrigation workshops each year for free which aims to assist customers with system start up, setting controllers for weather – wise watering. You can attend to these workshops and be aware of proper irrigation.
Fertilize The Soil
In as much as your lawn needs watering, it also requires nourishment by fertilizing. Experts reveal that the ideal time of year to fertilize your lawn is during fall. It is because the grass roots grow quickly during this season hence, application of fertilizer aids in root growth, disease protection, drought tolerance, and cold resistance. Aside from that, it also keeps nutrients in reserve just in time for the next spring.
Apply the fertilizers evenly and make sure that the quantity is just right: don’t overdo or underdo it. Be mindful as well of the waterways in your area when you fertilize your lawn, make sure to maintain at least a 5-foot buffer in order to avoid contamination.
If you applied fertilizer in the fall, you don’t need to fertilize until May. Now, in choosing the fertilizer, it has to contain balanced nutrients and you have to check the label. Nitrogen, phosphorous and magnesium are just three of the most important content of the fertilizer you should choose.
Get Rid Of Weeds
Alright, even if the temperature drops and the weather get colder, weeds are still as annoying as ever. Weeds compete with the grass in your lawn in terms of absorbing nutrients, energy, and water, and that’s not good in keeping your lawn healthy.
Landscape professionals suggest that keeping a dense lawn is one of the most effective ways to keep the weeds out and you can ensure that by following all the steps that we’ve mentioned previously. Aside from that, you can also get rid of weeds using herbicides – just make sure that you read and understand the instructions found on the label. Or, you can do it naturally, which is preferable in order not to affect the grass.
Keep On Mowing
Regardless of the cold temperature, you have to continue mowing your lawn. If you let the grass blades grow too long, it’ll shade other blades around them as well as competing to get enough amount of sunlight. Keep your grass at an ideal 2½- to 3-inch height so there is enough surface area for the sun to shed its rays.
This will avoid grass from turning brown or withering during winter. To do this, simply lower your blades one notch, or set the blades at the lowest mowing height recommended for your grass type. Almost all of the grass that grow in Reno are cool season grass, which grows taller than warm season grass, hence, two- to three-inch deep mowing heights are recommended for these grasses such as: bluegrass, fescues and ryegrass.
Remember, always use a sharp blade when mowing your lawn and never mow wet grass. You can leave grass clippings on the lawn to return nutrients to the soil. Reno soil is mostly heavy, tight clay soils devoid of organic matter and nutrients. Hence, the more organic matter you apply to your lawn, the better. You can also pile up the grass clipping along with dried leaves, animal manure, and other organic materials to make a compost.
Overall, following the steps we mentioned above will certainly put you on the right track in preparing your lawn for spring. Regardless of which city or state you are in, or if you’re in Reno, these tricks are guaranteed to provide positive results. Expert landscapers in Reno, Nevada suggest that your lawn health plays a crucial role in landscaping and gardening which is why it is of utmost importance that you shouldn’t slack in taking care of it. So, if you’re planning to start a landscaping project, autumn is also a good time for it. Before you start worrying, don’t hesitate to ask landscaping professionals for the best ideas.