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Fall is the best time to prepare your lawn for next spring because you can do more now to impact how your lawn will look next year than at any other time of the year.

Unfortunately, many of us have lost our enthusiasm for yard work at this time of year, because we’ve been hard at it all summer, and because many of us think about lawn care only during the fresh exciting months of spring when everything is growing.

If however, you can get out there and do a few last easy tasks this month, it’s a guarantee that you’ll be way ahead for next year.

That’s because with cooler temperatures, the grass is going to be focusing on root growth. Therefore, we want to build up the density of the grass and encourage the most vigorous, healthy turf we can now to enjoy later.

Another good thing about giving your lawn a little care in the fall, is that you can do more for weed control by attacking them right now than can be done with two or three weed killing applications in the spring or summer.

Lastly, none of the following items take long to do, but the results will look like you spent hours because your lawn will come blazing into spring with immense growth and color.

General To-Do List

  1. Fertilize your lawn in October before the first heavy freeze, no matter if you have a cool or warm-season grass – but use a winterizer fertilizer
  2. A winterizer fertilizer is like a 7-3-2. They are usually clearly labeled.
    • This all-natural product is formulated specifically for use in late summer and fall and it encourages strong, vigorous root development on both cool-weather and warm-weather lawns
    • Vigorous fall root development allows grass to over-winter better, and get off to a better start the following spring
    • At the same time it improves soil structure
    • It helps increase resistance to disease and insect pests
    • It provides a long-lasting balance of nutrients and helps grass get prepared for harsh winter weather
  3. Other common winterizing fertilizer formulas are 18-6-12 or 15-5-10 which come in organic and non-organic products.
  4. The winter weeds are germinating like crazy in the fall, and getting ready for next year, so make sure you apply a pre-emergent as soon as possible. The best time to apply a pre-emergent to combat winter weeds is in August or September, but if you haven’t done so yet, do it now! A good organic pre-emergent is corn gluten meal. Corn gluten can be found at most garden centers.
  5. By attacking the weeds now, you can do more about weed control than you can in the spring or summer.
  6. If you have a lot of leaves, mulch them up and apply them to your lawn. They won’t contribute to thatch and they act almost as another fertilizer application for the turf.
  7. Lastly, mowing is the single most important thing you can do to manage the vigor of your grass and its ability to compete against weeds. In the fall, the best results are obtained by mowing at the highest setting on your mower. In no case should the mowing leave the grass less than 1.5 inches (3.75 cm) tall. This will help insulate the grass during the winter.

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