As a homeowner in Atlanta, GA there’s a pretty good chance that your lawn is made up of a warm-season grass type, such as Bermuda. This means that sometime around late fall your lawn is going to begin its transition into dormancy. Dormancy is a natural, recurring cycle that takes place during adverse conditions such as low temperatures and inadequate light and water. It’s a very important time for root systems as they hibernate for the winter. While the wilted brown look may not be all that aesthetically pleasing, remember it’s only temporary and 100% necessary. You’ll pleasantly rewarded next spring with a healthy, lush, green lawn.
However, before your lawn goes into winter dormancy there’s plenty to do. So we put together a quick guide to help you out during the fall season. Check out the tips below for the best fall lawn care advice!
1. Keep Doing What You’re Doing
Existing lawn care, such as mowing, edging, and watering should continue as needed. Remember that while the best time to water is early in the morning, the best time to mow is in the evening right before the sun goes down because the grass is dry and temperatures are nice and cool.
2. Raise the Mower Blade to Raise the Height of your Lawn
- Fescue and St Augustine grass should be mowed at 2 – 3 inches
- Seeded Bermuda should be mowed at 1 – 2 inches
- Sodded Bermuda and Zoysia should be mowed at 0.5 – 1.5 inches
- Remember after the last mow of the season to clean out the undercarriage of the mower, sharpen the mower blade, and empty out the gas tank before you let the mower sit idle during the winter months. This will help your mower last longer.
3. Let your Lawn Breathe
For certain types of grasses, fall is a great time to consider aerating your lawn. Families that often host summer activities at their home could be subject to soil compaction. Soil compaction is bad for the lawn because it doesn’t allow nutrients, air, and water to adequately reach the root system. Aeration is a process that involves perforating the lawn by removing small plugs, allowing alleviation of the dense soil.
Pro tip: Topdressing the soil after aerating your lawn during the fall is a great way to improve the health of your lawn during its winter dormancy.
4. Apply a Pre-emergent
Yes, weeds happen in the winter too. There’s actually a plethora of weeds that thrive during the cold winter months so it’s best to keep those pesky weeds out while your lawn rests.
To control winter weeds such as annual bluegrass, henbit, chickweed, etc. apply a pre-emergent to your Bermuda or Zoysia lawn before winter dormancy.
Don’t apply pre-emergents to a fescue lawn if you plan to overseed in the fall. This will prevent both the weed seeds from germinating and the prevent the grass from seeding.
5. Fall Planting
Early fall is the best time to begin planting trees and shrubs because planting in autumn allows them time to establish their roots and transition into the garden while the conditions aren’t as harsh.
6. Leverage Nature to your Advantage
If you’re not a fan of leaf cleanups and all the work that goes into such as raking, bagging, and dragging leaves to the curb then just recycle them back into your lawn! Either way it’s imperative that you get the bulk of the leaves off the lawn because they end up suffocating the lawn if left on long enough.
If you do end up recycling the leaves back into the lawn then make sure to shred them completely.
You can also use shredded leaves as mulch for your beds. The reason you want them nice and shredded is so that they don’t blow away so that they are actually able to do their job and insulate the soil.
That’s the end for our quick and easy fall lawn care guide. We hope this helps before the winter cold strikes. Have questions about lawn care in Atlanta, GA? Share your thoughts in the comments below.