The end of the summer doesn’t mean simply walking away from regularly scheduled lawn maintenance. In fact, the key to next year’s healthy lawn is a comprehensive finish to this year’s summer season. Homeowners need to focus on everything from retaining moisture in the soil to overseeding and laying the foundation of a strong, resilient lawn that will bounce back in a few short weeks as the spring thaw gets underway next year. Before simply walking away from the lawn without preparing it for the grueling fall and winter months ahead, consider a few keys to keeping the lawn at its best even when the weather isn’t ideal.
Start by Thinking About Moisture Retention
Moisture retention is as important during the colder months of the year as it is during the peak summer months. Over these colder months, proper moisture and moisture retention will allow the lawn to spring right back into action as the weather warms up after winter. Furthermore, it will allow the soil to resist significant compaction, allowing the roots to remain a bit healthier over the long course of the winter months. The key to moisture retention during the colder part of the year isn’t so much about watering the lawn, but is instead about making sure natural moisture can reach the lawn and stay within the soil. For this reason, operators need to start by removing all thatch from the lawn that may have built up over the course of the summer. The course and complicated nature of thatch can act as a batter to moisture absorption, killing grass and creating brown patches when spring rolls around.
In addition to removing thatch, which is often a job perfectly suited to heavy-duty dethatching equipment, the lawn must be prepared in another way. Aeration is an important method of creating moisture and nutrient pathways that penetrate the soil and go right to the roots of each blade of grass. Aeration equipment is the best way to accomplish this task with precision, thanks to small tines that roll over the lawn and puncture holes in the soil effortlessly. This equipment will spare the grass from damage, but will open the soil up for deep moisture penetration. As cold weather sets in, these pathways will retain moisture and remain open. This creates a healthier, less compacted soil environment that will prove more resilient after the last snow melts.
Turf Quality: Add Grass Seed to the Mix for New, Pre-Winter Growth
As the summer season draws to a close, damage has likely been done to at least some of the blades of grass in a typical lawn. These blades of grass may never spring back to life and, if left in place over the winter, this dead grass could become unsightly at the start of the next summer season. Using overseeding equipment, homeowners should pass over the lawn’s open spaces and scatter new grass seed during the final warm weeks of winter and early fall. This seed will take hold and become strong before the first frost of the season, giving the lawn added thickness and resiliency in the process.
The good news for homeowners is that the dethatching and aeration process mentioned earlier is actually the perfect first step before overseeding. Both tasks will increase access to the soil as well as to key nutrients and nutrient pathways, creating a more resilient blade of grass at the last moment before cold weather sets in for months on end.
Beyond the Basics: Reduce Drought-Related Issues and Sources of Stress
If it has been a particularly dry summer season, the lawn must be properly watered in order to fend off the disastrous effects of a drought. During dry summers, the key is to water the lawn with volume instead of frequency. Experts recommend at least an inch of water per week. For best results, water the lawn with a greater amount of water less often. This will make the lawn more resilient to drought-like conditions and winter temperatures as well.
The lawn should also be maintained in a stress-free environment. In this case, that means monitoring pH levels and other key indicators of a good nutrient balance throughout the summer and into the fall. Proper pH and nutrient levels will allow the lawn to withstand some of the harshest seasonal conditions, without added stress that could lead to brown patches or slow growth issues as the weather cools off.
For More on Lawn Maintenance, Equipment, and Accessories, Trust ShanksLawn.com
ShanksLawn.com, and the local Shank’s Lawn Equipment store in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, can help homeowners prepare for the cooler months ahead. From aerators to overseeders, Shank’s Lawn Equipment can help homeowners find the right equipment to help their lawn maintain its thickness, vibrant color, and seasonal resiliency throughout each part of the year.
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