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Family Features
Preparing Green for White

Fall lawn care

Just when you thought last year’s brutal winter couldn’t be duplicated, along comes The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which says we could get more of the same in a few months.

So enjoy your lawn’s greenery while you can, and get it ready for possibly another thick blanket of snow.

A shorter cut and a thorough raking or mulching of fall’s leaves make a good start to prepare your lawn for a long, cold winter, but that’s not enough. Here are a few basic tips to get ready for another winter:

Aerating

Aerating is a way to remove plugs and soil and thatch from the lawn. A machine may be rented for the do-it-yourselfer, or a professional lawn service representative can do it.

“One of the first things that you want to do as you get toward the fall is to aerate,” says Jason Young of Young’s Home Lawn Care. “What that does is it opens up the ground. As you play in the yard, as you mow over the yard – riding mowers are particularly bad – all that compacts the ground, so any water that hits it, instead of soaking in, it’s going to run right off. It’s like a concrete driveway.”

Fertilizing

Rover’s daily forays into the backyard may produce patches of green, thick grass, but it’s best to have an even distribution of fertilizer.

“You following (aerating) up with a couple treatments of fertilizer afterwards, that gets right into those holes,” says Brian Woodward of Kapp’s Green Lawn.

Woodward cautions homeowners to read labels on all fertilizers. “It’s tough with anything that’s on the market because they’re all different labels, recommended for different types of spreaders,” he says. “It’s difficult to gauge that, plus they’re not licensed with the state, so the regulations that are on shelf products are completely different from anything that a professional, commercial company would use.

“Nitrogen is obviously the key ingredient for lawns in the fall time to get them healthy and as thick as possible going into the springtime. … Enhancing that root system benefits the lawn all the way around.”

Mulching

Young and Woodward agree that using a mulching mower is an alternative. Clippings return nutrients to the ground and offer a thicker lawn. The caution in mulching leaves is to do so when they are dry. Wet leaves will cause a clump and a build up beneath the mower deck.

“Now is the time to set your lawn up for a good result for next year,” Woodward says.

stwarden@jg.net

Family Features contributed to this story.

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