How you treat your lawn this autumn season will determine how your lawn will treat you next spring. Summer and winter weather lash yards in the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) area. Proper lawn care maintenance in the fall can make or break your lawn.
Provide your lawn with some extra TLC this fall to avoid dealing with spring headaches like weed invasions, brown patches, slow growth, and lack-luster blooms.
Take a few tips and secrets from the Dallas lawn care experts this season to have a lush, thriving lawn come spring.
1. Fall is the perfect time to prune the ornamentals in your DFW landscape.
Summer and winter are both high stress seasons for lawns, but the mild weather of autumn makes it a great time for planting and pruning in DFW. As the lovely fall weather rolls in, it gives us an opportunity to clean up from summer strains such as wind damage and environmental stresses.
It’s also the perfect chance to prepare your ornamentals for winter weather. Once temperatures begin to lower in fall, the pressures of diseases, fungus, and insects get lower as well. Most plants are beginning to enter their dormant state, and pruning during this time won’t damage budding or blooming plants.
2. Mulch your leaves to create a natural fertilizer.
Although raking leaves and bagging them is the most common solution for leaf-covered fall lawns, mulching may be a better option for your yard. Mulching (or shredding) the leaves in your lawn has been shown to provide excellent nutritional benefits to your grass.
Mulching or mowing the leaves will shred them down to tiny bits to be left lightly blanketing your yard. That leaf litter left behind is rich in Carbon and Nitrogen, and over time those shreds break down and pass their nutrients down into the soil. And voila! Free, natural fertilizer.
To mulch the leaves in your lawn, simply place your lawnmower into the “mulch” setting and mow through the leaves. Don’t let leaves pile up for weeks before you get started, though. The sooner you get started, the better. For best results, mow through your leaves weekly so the leaf litter can continuously feed your soil.
3. Eliminate weeds before winter plant dormancy begins.
In case you forgot, fall comes before winter – shocking revelation, we know. But it can be easy to forget what winter means for our grass and other plants. During the winter season, our lawns will be in a “sleeping” state known as dormancy. The healthier you can get your yard before the long winter sleep, the greener your yard can be in spring!
Letting weeds fester through fall and winter could bring disastrous issues for your grass come spring.
Weeds steal energy, water, nutrients, and space from your desirable plants. It is quite common for weeds to germinate and spread while your grass sleeps. Even if you can’t see the weeds yet, they could be lurking beneath the surface and take over by spring.
Leaving weeds unchecked during the fall season means that your yard will enter dormancy in less than optimal condition. For your lawn to look healthy and green next spring, your grass must be cared for in the fall.
Summer weather can breed many tough weeds in DFW lawns. Give your yard the relief it needs this fall by eradicating problem weeds with a post-emergent herbicide. Autumn is also an ideal time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent fall & winter annual weeds.
4. Don’t let your holiday decorations destroy your yard.
As fun as holiday yard decorations can be for you and your family, they are not a particularly fun experience for grass. Large and heavy holiday décor weighs down heavily on your grass and can smother it. These decorations also block areas of your grass from the water, sun, and nutrients that it needs to survive. These decorations can lead to brown dead patches on your lawn if you’re not careful.
To avoid decorations from damaging your grass, use them sparingly, place them in mulch beds, or set up all of your holiday décor in the driveway or on your house.
5. Add mulch to your landscape to protect plant roots from frost.
The freezing conditions that come with the winter season in DFW can be killer on your plants…literally. If you don’t take a few necessary fall precautions to protect your plants, they can easily die over the winter season.
Leaving flower beds exposed and unprotected during freezing weather can cause significant damage to your plant’s root systems. Adding mulch shields the soil and helps to maintain a steady, stable underground temperature for your roots. Essentially, spreading mulch adds curb appeal, covers the soil, and protects plant roots from harsh cold weather.
6. Prepare your trees and shrubs for winter with root zone fertilization.
Prior to winter approaching, it is imperative that trees and shrubs receive adequate fertilization. Providing your ornamental plants with a boost of essential nutrients helps them survive throughout the cooler season.
During this process, liquid fertilizer is injected directly into the root zone of ornamentals. This healthy shot of nutrients fortifies the plants, which will help keep trees and shrubs hearty enough to survive the winter months.
A fall dose of root zone fertilization will allow for greener foliage, and enhanced blooms come spring.
7. Be sure to fix compacted soil and thick thatch this autumn.
Lawns are not just a pretty face for curb appeal…lawns are the home of barbeques, sports, fire pits, exercise, and so many other outdoor activities! Combine all that foot traffic with the strain of DFW weather, and you realize that our grass is constantly under pressure. The weight of all that pressure weighs down on our yard’s soil and causes it to compact and harden over time.
Another burdensome issue that commonly weighs down on lawns is thatch.
Thatch is the layer of grass clippings, leaves, and other organic debris that build up and blanket the soil in yards. Having a layer of thatch thicker than ½ inch can smother your lawn.
A thick layer of debris covering the ground makes it very difficult for water, air, and nutrients to reach down into the soil. Without adequate access to the building blocks of a plants’ survival, soil can become barren, and your grass could die.
It is crucial to repair compacted soil and remove thatch before winter arrives. Lawns of the DFW area can greatly benefit from a fall aeration treatment. Lawn aeration breaks up thatch and loosens compacted soil. An aeration treatment is one of the best ways to repair your lawn from summer stress and prepare it for the harsh winter.
8. Don’t stop mowing or watering just yet.
As cooler weather sets in, grass growth begins to slow down, but you won’t be able to slow down on your lawn care routine just yet. You should continue to mow your lawn throughout the fall, cutting about ⅓ of the grass blade length with each session. As temperatures plunge near the end of fall and you notice that grass growth has completely stopped, you can (finally) store your mower till spring arrives.
Your lawn will also continue to require supplemental watering in the fall to help recover from the summer heat and drought.
However, too much water can cause just as much damage as not enough water. Adjust your water output at the beginning of the season to prevent over-saturating your roots. Follow the fall watering guide to find the perfect watering balance for your lawn.
9. Fall feeding is essential.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again…it is imperative to prepare your lawn during the fall to protect your yard against winter weather. One of the most critically important ways to prepare your property is with a fall feeding of fertilizer.
Fall is one of the best times to fertilize lawns in the DFW area. Giving your yard a healthy feeding of nutrients before winter dormancy arrives will help your lawn stay healthy in the winter months and thrive in the spring.
Year-Round Lawn Care with Gecko Green
With our comprehensive lawn care program in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, your lawn will look its best year-round. Our unique lawn care program is based upon the seasons, but services can be started at any time of the year.
If you want your lawn to thrive this coming spring, then have Gecko Green care for your yard this fall.