Eco-friendly fall lawn care tips |

Eco-friendly fall lawn care tips

Family Features

Part of having a beautiful yard in the spring and summertime involves preparation in the fall and winter. If your lawn is properly taken care of in the fall and winter, it has a better shot at surviving the colder temperatures and it will be more likely to flourish when spring arrives.

“During this ‘second spring,’ homeowners should find ways to make their lawns not only greener in color, but also greener in their sustainability,” says organic gardening and lawn care expert and author of the best-selling book, “The Organic Lawn Care Manual,” Paul Tukey. “It’s easier than homeowners think to invest in eco-friendly lawn care, and the fall is the perfect time to start.”

To help you master greener yard care this fall, here are four eco-friendly lawn care tips from Tukey:

• Mow lower – While a key organic lawn care tactic is to keep the blade high so the grass will produce more nutrients, that’s not as important in the winter, when grass is dormant. Drop the blade to 2-inches for your final mowing, which is usually in early November for most parts of the country. If you leave the grass too high heading into winter, you may be creating a nice haven for field mice, which can damage the lawn.

• Pull the weeds – Since common weeds like crabgrass, plantain, and chickweed go to seed in the fall, lawn care during this time of the year should include some serious weeding. Do some weeding now to spare the temptation to kill weeds with unhealthy synthetic chemicals in the spring. You can either pull them (they’re large and easy to grab now) or mow them with a bagging attachment on your electric mower, so the seeds don’t have a chance to hit the soil. For heavily weeded areas, you can use an electric cultivator to loosen the weeds, turn the soil and prepare the area for overseeding.

• Fill in any thin spots – Fall is a great time to plant new grass seed everywhere in the country. To ensure excellent seed-to-soil contact, be sure to scratch the soil with a bamboo rake or mechanical machine known as a dethatcher before you scatter the seed. Cover with a light layer of compost or healthy soil to increase the germination rate. Then water the area frequently to keep the new seed moist while it germinates.

• Rake regularly – A heavy layer of autumn leaves can mat the lawn and smother it. Electric leaf blowers can help get into corners and hard-to-reach areas around gardens and fences.

Shred those raked-up leaves and compost or use them as mulch in your spring garden.

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