Summer’s long, hot days are rapidly fading, and if you live in Little Rock, you know that your lawn will benefit from a reprieve in the heat. While your yard might be getting a chance to relax, you don't have the same luxury - unless you want your lawn to look brown and unhealthy, that is!
Instead, consider fall as the best time to implement some critical lawn maintenance to prepare it for the winter, spring, and summer seasons ahead. It’s a great time to tackle some of the items on your lawn care to-do list that you, wisely, may have been putting off.
Having an irrigation system should go without saying, but as the temperatures drop, your plants will need less water. Keep an eye on your containers in particular, as it’s easy for these to become waterlogged.
While you’re at it, consider upgrading your irrigation system for next year. If the weather was arid, you might have wondered how to conserve water best while keeping your lawn lush. Rain barrels are a good option for collecting rainwater to help offset the expense and waste of watering your lawn and garden.
You might also consider using a sprinkler system at night to help avoid harsh temperatures and direct sunlight and to increase the amount of water that your lawn absorbs. Fall is a great time to install this kind of device because they are commonly on sale at local garden supply stores.
Begin to work fertilizer or other organic matter into the soil now. Because you have a long window before you are planting again, consider adding manure or another natural fertilizer into the soil. Other good fertilizers include grass clippings or composted pine bark.
If you have overly acidic, you can also apply lime. This can be spread using a fertilizer spreader or by hand. A soil test can help you determine whether this is necessary.
Aeration is a necessity for many lawns, and this is especially true if you have heavy soil like clay. Clay soil types make it harder for water and nutrients to move through the densely packed soil particles and can cause your lawn growth to slow down or even come to a screeching halt altogether.
If you notice areas of compaction or know that you have poor-quality, heavy soil, consider aerating in the fall. You can rent an aeration machine from a local farm and garden store and tackle this task in just a few hours. The process of aeration will loosen the soil and allow nutrients and moisture to pass more easily through to your grass’s hungry roots.
Fall is an excellent time to consider overseeding with an annual species, like ryegrass. Because most warm weather species, like Bermudagrass, go dormant in the winter months, overseeding now is an excellent way to keep your lawn green during the cold season. Don’t worry - your warm season grasses will jump right back once the temperatures begin to rise again.
Fall is also an excellent time to plant any trees or shrubs. Planting trees will allow them plenty of time to set roots and make the transition into a more cooling growing season.
Keep mowing your lawn, even as its growth slows. Try to avoid letting it grow too long as it becomes dormant, and aim to mow the lawn at least once a week. Try not to remove more than a third of the height of the grass blade in a single cutting. Generally, mow about an inch higher than the suggested lawn height to keep your lawn healthy throughout any weather.
Weeds are opportunistic and will emerge at any time they see a window. Use a pre-emergent herbicide in mid-fall to help cut down on their populations. It would help if you also took the time to clean out your beds. Remove any spent annuals and plant cool-weather annuals to help choke out unwelcomed weeds.
Fall might be a time of crunching leaves and crisp evenings spent drinking warm apple cider, but in Little Rock, you need to stay on top of your lawn care game to ensure a healthy lawn come spring. By following these tips, you can have a lawn that outshines your neighbors and visitors alike, even in the dead of winter.
If you're in Little Rock this Fall, learn how Little Rock Lawn Care can service your lawn!
Photo Source: Zillow