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Fall lawn and yard maintenance checklist

Hopefully you’ve already Dethatched, Aerated, and Over-seeded (D.A.O.) after Labor Day and before the temperatures really drop in the cool season grass zones up north.  If you’re in a transition zone (middle of country) and have fescues, rye, or kentucky blue grass and the temperatures are starting to drop, it is a great time to get out in the yard and start!

Here is a list of post D.A.O. fall fun:

  1. Fertilize: the grass is going to benefit from ideal growing conditions and plant (especially the root) preparation before the winter. This is going to really help the grass bounce back in the spring. A fertilizer with all three N-P-K numbers is great but Nitrogen (N) and Potassium (K) are a must and generally available in many fertilizers without restrictions.  The Phosphorus (P) is a great addition to newly seeded lawns but can be restricted around water and you may need to complete a soil test to use a product with P.
  2. Water: water the lawn to help drive the roots down into the soil. Soak soil around trees and shrubs if rainfall has been light to ensure that plants enter winter fully hydrated.
    • Before winter fully hits and after your last mow (sad face!)….empty hoses, fountains, and sprinkler systems – ensure any standing water is removed from your watering equipment and store items in a dry place.
  3. Remove the leaves: while the leaves may look nice and be fun to play in for the kids, they aren’t great for grass. They block the sunlight and trap moisture. So when the leaves are falling, blow or rake them away as often as you can. Even after the trees are empty, continue raking out the corners where the wind piles leaves up.
    • Clean out the gutters: leaves can build up if you don’t have guards and block drains leading to damaging ice buildup.
  4. Protect Evergreens: Your boxwood, holly, rhododendrons, or similar often suffer in winter because their leaves lose moisture on sunny and windy days without replacing it from the soil when the ground is frozen. Surround these plants with a shelter of burlap or old sheets. The idea is to create shade and slow harsh wind, both of which help to retain moisture so the plant doesn’t dry out and die.
    • Provide additional protection by using an anti-transpirant spray on the plant after the first hard frost. The spray will dry into a thin film that reduces the moisture lost by transpiration.
  5. Keep Mowing: keep going every week or so until grass has stopped growing. Feel free to mulch or bag leaves also to save time! You might have to switch to afternoon mows with damp grass in the early morning.
  6. Clean tools and store them: Don’t throw your gardening tools in the garage or shed and forget about them until next year! Go that extra mile to clean and add a light coat of oil to mechanical equipment to prevent rust over the winter.

EXTRA FUN: Plant Bulbs: the fall is a great time to plant crocus, daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, and other spring-flowering bulbs. Try a few, see how it works and add more the next year. 

How to Manage MOss In the Lawn

Moss in and around lawns is a common occurrence for the average home owner, don’t sweat it! We’ll try to explain how this happens and how to manage the next steps.

HOW THIS HAPPENS: Moss typically tells you that grass is weak and the environment (in the soil) is better for the moss than the grass itself. Moss can also be prevalent in conditions of excessive shade, compacted soils, poorly drained soils, low soil fertility, high or low soil pH, and poor air circulation. Poor lawn care practices are another source of moss problems. General lack of care, including irregular mowing and little or no fertilizer applications are common problems leading to poor soil conditions and therefor bad lawns.

FIXES: 1.)Amending the soil with lime is a common go to for homeowners to balance pH which is a typical sign when moss is around. However, this shouldn’t be done unless a soil test has shown the pH needs to be raised (which is what lime will do).

Lawn Serv’s DIY Lawn Care Subscription Box includes the management of pH after we test the soil which is included in the subscription plan too! Making this first fix super easy!

2.)IRON sulfate / Ferrous ammonium sulfate / ferric sulfate can be used to control moss and another plus is that this product will give a really deep green color to your lawn where it is applied. AN EXAMPLE PRODUCT HERE

1.) + 2.) Should also include raking out moss or using a spade shovel in 100% moss areas to remove it and allow product to get to the soil more easily. All of this should be followed by reseeding as these areas are usually thin with grass.

3.) Too much shade for acceptable grass growth is a common underlying cause for moss invasion. Pruning trees and shrubs to improve air circulation and light penetration is a good idea.

4.) Reduce soil compaction by aerating the lawn to help correct drainage problems.

Start there! Those correct 99% of the moss problems in the lawn world. If the problem persists really take a look at how the area is different than the other areas in your yard without moss and try to understand the underlying differences and work back from there.

What to Consider When Choosing Organic Fertilizer

At Lawn Serv, we love our organic products.  When used correctly, organic products can be a fantastic, effective–and very safe–way to give your lawn the nutrients it needs to thrive.  But, what are the differences between organic fertilizers and traditional? And, what do these differences mean for how you should be using organic fertilizers to maximize the benefit?  

Let’s take a look!

First, what do we mean when we say “organic fertilizer”?

Organic fertilizers are usually made by processing waste from plants or animals (e.g., compost, or manures).  Organic fertilizer components are often found in non-organic products, but because those contain synthetic ingredients, they cannot be called “organic”.  Keep an eye out for clear labeling that says “organic”, or “approved for organic gardening” when choosing an organic fertilizer.

Are there any benefits to using organic fertilizer?

Yes!  To name just a few:

  1. Organic fertilizers also promote the activity of healthy microbes, by providing rich sources of carbon to the soil ecosystem.
  2. Organic fertilizers contain organic matter, which enhance soil structure, and as a result, greatly improve the soil’s ability to hold onto water and nutrients.
  3. Organic fertilizers are also sustainable and environmentally friendly!  According to the Organic Trade Association, organic fertilizer increases species biodiversity by 30% compared to other fertilizers. That’s a lot of healthy activity in your yard’s ecosystem!
Fertilizer How To

But, there must be disadvantages, right?  Well, sort of.

Although the organic fertilizer market is well-controlled and regulated, the quality of some products on the market may vary.  And, since organic fertilizers often contain more natural and complex nutrients, they may be naturally slower to release; you may not see overnight results–it’s a marathon, not a sprint!  

So, what’s the best way to use organic fertilizers?

Well, the easiest way is a Lawn Serv All-Natural Subscription Box, of course!  Lawn Serv only works with the highest-quality organic fertilizer suppliers to ensure quality products and great results!  Your subscription deliveries are timed throughout the season–and are targeted to your specific lawn through soil testing–to ensure effective use of organic fertilizers.  If you’d rather choose your own organic fertilizers, that’s ok too! Just be be sure you’re choosing well-known products that have been reviewed by trade associations, universities, or other experts, as these will be the safest, most effective products for your yard.

As always, reach out with any questions–we’re here to help!

See you out in the yard!

-Lawn Serv

How to use organic products
Learn more about managing your lawn here ^

Should I Be Following a Lawn Program?

Lawn Care Plan

Many lawn products and programs are focused on short-term bursts of green in your lawn, and do not address the issues that result in unhealthy grass plants.  If left unaddressed, these problems will get worse each year, leaving your lawn vulnerable to bugs, and allowing brown/bare spots and weeds to overtake your yard!

Lawn Plan

But, there is good news: by following a consistent, tailored program, you can greatly improve the health of the underlying soil ecosystem, fortifying your soil and nourishing your lawn to build a beautiful landscape!

Benefits of following a consistent lawn plan (like ours here at Lawn Serv!) include:

  • Less fertilizer:  consistent application of the right fertilizers at the right time boosts your lawn’s ability to absorb the nutrients it needs to grow naturally.  As a result, you can drastically reduce the need for large amounts of fertilizer to get the same results!
  • Less pesticides:  consistency in your lawn program will build stronger, more resilient plants, crowding out weeds and bugs, and allowing you to reduce overall pesticide use.
  • Less water:  a consistent lawn program grows thicker, stronger, healthier root systems that access water and nutrients deeper in the soil.  These healthier plants are also able to retain more water, leading to much more efficient use of water.
  • Eliminate runoff:  by applying smaller, more consistent amounts of nutrients for your lawn—focusing only on the nutrients that your lawn actually needs, identified through a comprehensive soil test—you are greatly reducing any potential runoff.

The even better news?  Following a lawn plan is not difficult!  There are some basic steps that you can take that will really make a big difference, including finding out how big your lawn actually is right here!  And, get your soil tested.  By the way, <–that soil test is free with all of our Lawn Serv plans!

Feel free to reach out anytime with questions, we’re here to help!


Lawn Care Advice

Winterize your Lawn Mower

How to Winterize Your Lawn Mower

Quick Pro Tips:

  • Wash the mower
  • Run out the gas
  • Think about taking this time to sharpen the blades for the new year

If you get sustained below freezing temperatures in your part of the country you need to think seriously about simple maintenance if you plan to extend the life of your machines.  Grass clippings in bags can ruin them, so turn them inside out, rinse and let dry in the sun.  You should clean your mower deck after each use, but especially before winter.  Grass holds moisture and can rust parts of the mower quicker.

Gas only has a couple months shelf life.  You should run that out if you don’t plan on mowing in the next 60 days and put new gas in.

Sharpe blades are going cut more efficiently and cleaner.  This will improve the health of your lawn.  Now that you have a few winter months off go take the blades to a local shop and get those sharpened.  It’s short money for the saved headaches they can cause by creating lawn problems.  

Want a more convenient way to fertilizer your lawn?