The fall can be an important time for lawn care, consisting of many different steps to be taken in order to keep a yard looking green and healthy throughout the winter. The important thing to remember is that many lawns in Omaha vary between which grasses are present. Here are some fall lawn care tips in Omaha.
For warm-season grasses, it is better to take care of these lawn care tips at the very end of the summer, between mid and late August. However, for lawns consisting of cool-season grasses, the months of September to October can be the best times to put these lawn care practices into place. Use the following tips to take care of your lawn no matter what kind of grasses you have. But be mindful of whether these practices need to take place at the very end of summer or the very beginning of fall.
Thatch is a layer of organic plant material that can build up overtime in any lawn. In many cases, a thin layer of thatch can actually be beneficial to a lawn, keeping it more resistant to wear and tear, while also keeping weeds away. However, if you find your thatch layer to be more than half an inch thick, it may be time to dethatch your lawn.
Thatch that is too thick can hold onto unwanted diseases and pests, and can actually begin to keep your grasses away from the nutrients they need in your soil. You want there to be recovery time for your lawn before frosts begin to set in, so the best time to handle these practices would be between late August and September. Use either a dethatching rake or a vertical mower to tear up any present thatch, which will also thin your grass slightly. Once the thatch has been dug up, remove the excess materials and apply fertilizer immediately to promote your lawn’s recovery.
Late summer and early fall are perfect times for fertilizing in Omaha. This last fertilization application will help your grasses maintain their green color, even after the first frosts of the year begin setting in October and November. Simply apply a slow release fertilizer, using 0.5 to 1.5 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per 1000 square feet. Ensure that you do not apply too much fertilizer, as this can help breed fungi in the soil and contribute to runoff into local rivers and waterways.
Lawn weeds can take advantage of thin or weakened patches of grass on your lawn, and can wreak havoc on the health of your yard. In order to maintain control over the weeds in your soil, it is best to stop each species at its most vulnerable stage. Fall is the perfect time to apply herbicides for broadleaf weeds such as dandelions, violets, ground ivy, and thistle.
During the fall, broadleaf weeds tend to move carbohydrates toward the plant’s roots for storage during the winter. However, if herbicide is applied at this time, the chemical will also be moved into the roots, helping to kill the entire plant, not just the visible parts. With difficult weeds however, one application unfortunately will not be enough. Apply the herbicide 2 or 3 times with 2 to 3 weeks inbetween applications for the best results. Try using spot treatments, only spraying the actual weeds themselves. This is a much more direct and efficient method than broadcasting the herbicide.
Unfortunately, many present Nebraskan soils have very high clay and silt contents. This makes them more prone than most soils to compaction, which can stop grasses and plants from reaching the nutrients they need in the soil. In order to fix this, the next time it rains, look for any spots on your lawn with more water pooling than other areas. Once you have determined where the most compaction has occurred, use a core aerator on your lawn to dig small holes into the dirt.
After aerating, simply rake the cores back into your lawn to redistribute the previously nutrients that are too densely together back into your soil. It is best to aerate your soil when your grasses are actively growing, so for cool-season grasses, aeration is best in either the spring or fall, while it is better to aerate lawns with warm-season grasses during mid to late August.
For lawns with more cool-season grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass, or Tall Fescue, mowing often during the spring and fall is important. During these seasons, cool-season grasses grow the most, requiring mowing about once every 4 to 7 days. When mowing, ensure that you are either mulching your grass clippings or removing them entirely. Do not leave clumps of grass clippings on your lawn, as it will suffocate any underlying grasses. If you have excess grass clippings, add them to your compost or use them to add nutrients to your flowerbeds.
Fall lawn care in Nebraska can seem unneccessary but by following these simple steps, you'll be sure to have a healthy looking lawn come spring time!
Need help preparing your lawn for fall? Visit our Omaha lawn care page to get in touch with a professional!