Hi there. We just moved into a nice place near Toronto, Ontario. The grass is in pretty bad shape. There are several sections of bald spots (some under tree cover), weeds interspersed (mostly along the flower beds in the front yard), and just a general lack of robustness. An old woman was living in the house by herself before us, so we are guessing that she hadn’t done much over the years. We have trimmed the trees back and pulled a ton of weeds in the flower beds already. We want a healthy lawn but we’d prefer to go pesticide free if reasonable. We are wondering if there’s any suggestions you have for effective steps we should take this fall so that next summer, our grass looks good. We are thinking that its possible we shouldn’t do anything and just wait until Spring time and address everything then. Any specific or general advice would be much appreciated. We are new to this!
Don’t wait to get started! Fall is the best time to tend to your lawn as the grass is actively growing roots, there is more natural moisture from mother nature and most importantly the soil is already nice and warm from the summer. At the same time, cooler air temperatures cause less plant stress and provides ample dew in the mornings for helping to keep seed moist.
If there were only 5 things that I could do for my lawn through the fall, I would make sure to:
- Fertilize well- Your lawn needs a robust and well-nourished turfgrass plants to grow and out-compete weeds. Give your lawn a fighting chance with the right plant food AND soil nutrients !
- Aerate and Over Seed with the proper seed types for each areas conditions(sun /shade/traffic etc.)– Now is a great time. (this will help thicken the lawn) Morning dew from cooler nights help increase seed germination. Our special Liquid Aeration helps to amplify the ability of soil to support increased growth and thickening
- Mow frequently at 2 ¾” – 3”. (this is the ideal height for grass in your climate, while being the less ideal height for weeds- frequent mowing doesn’t allow weeds to get established) And by this I mean mow every 5 days at least! Just watch how much thicker the lawn will get after only 6- 8 mowing’s through fall.
- Sharpen your blade and dont let leaves stay on the lawn too long. Yes you can Mulch them, as long as you dont have large trees providing too much leaf litter (it’s too much if you cant see 70-80% of your grass blades after you mulch the leaves. Rake frequently so the leaves dont get wet and mat down your lawn reversing and killing all your hard work!
- Keep watering! Fall can be windy and sometimes less precipitation, your lawn and trees need water while they work hard to recover form summer and prepare for the winter ahead. Don’t put away your hose or blow out your sprinkler system until at least the end of October! Tip: ask your sprinkler company to out you at the end of the list for winterization blow out!) The ground (where the roots and the sprinkler lines are) doesn’t normally freeze until late November or December as the ground is still warm from summer sun.
These are the most effective ways to combat weeds by improving your lawns thickness and health (whether you choose organics or pesticides.) If you have a lot of weeds, spraying them with a proper organic weed control will knock them back quite well in the fall while they are also actively growing.
Follow all of these tips and I promise they will give you an excellent head start on next spring’s growing season.