When it comes to property landscaping in the fall, few of us consider doing more than raking the fallen leaves when the lawn starts going brown. Sometimes we get lazy and don't rake until winter, or even at all.
Preparing for a green lawn
The preparation for a green lawn begins when you know that your grass has stopped growing. At this point, you should consider your soil. If your grass didn't look so hot the previous summer, soil PH could be the reason. Soil that is too acidic won't work with the fertilizer that you thought would make your lawn lush and green. Morning Chores recommends Environmental Concepts 1662 Professional Soil Test Kit on their top ten list. This kit can not only test your soil's PH, but also the conductivity and temperature. If you are not the do-it-yourself type, you can also opt for sending a sample off to a professional lab for testing. Most of your local colleges will offer soil testing as well.
Once you know where you stand with your soil, consider your grass. Do you have a patchy lawn or is it need of a total overhaul? Also consider whether you want to seed or use sod. If you intend to seed, the optimum time depends on the climate you live in. If you are in a cool climate, the time is quite possibly now. Consult a planting chart for the proper time for planting for other climates. No matter the planting time dictated by your geography, a successful seeding depends on preparation. If your soil test comes back deficient, you should amend the soil to increase the likelihood that the seed will sprout into the lush, green lawn you've been dreaming about in the spring.
After you have evaluated your soil and grass, you should take these steps next:
- Prepare the ground. The soil should be turned over to a depth of 12 inches and any weeds, stones or large roots should be removed. The area should then be gently leveled with the back of a rake or other tool that can be drug across the over-turned soil. At his point, the soil should be lightly packed down by treading over the area or using as roller if you have one available. Wait a week or two if possible, picking any weeds that sprout in the prepared area.
- Sow your seeds. The seed you choose should be based on the climate you live in, the type of soil and the amount of shade vs. sunlight in the area. The seed can be spread by hand, by using a handheld spreader for small areas or the larger wheeled grass spreaders for larger areas. You should remember not to over-seed any one area. This can result in the seeds draining the soil of nutrients. The proper coverage is about 12 to 16 seeds per square inch. Don't forget to use your lawn roller or even the tread of your shoes again to press the seed into the soil. The final step is to use a fine screened compost over the area. It can be a bit more expensive than commonly used alternatives such as steer manure or hay.
- Don't forget to look up. If you have bushes or trees in the yard, they probably need to be trimmed. Also, be sure to water your evergreens so that they don't dehydrate in the winter.
- Don't forget to have fun with fall and winter curb appeal. When all the work is done preparing for a lush spring lawn, There is no good reason why your rental property needs to be uninviting for perspective tenants just because it is fall. Consider pumpkins on the stoop, perhaps some potted fall flowers or a tasteful yard decoration here and there. Your flower beds can draw the eye with festive colored mulch and perhaps a mum or two.
It may seem like wasted effort when it comes to caring for a seemingly dead lawn and flower beds long past their prime, but when spring comes around again, your newly green landscape will thank you.