Why You Mow Differently in Fall (and How to Do It)
The cool, crisp fall air is a welcomed alternative to the harsh, scorching sun and summer’s heat we’ve been experiencing. We can actually be outside without getting dehydrated within minutes, and we can finally take a break from mowing weekly. That is, of course, after we winterize our lawn and mow it in the fall. As the seasons shift and winter approaches, it is important to take care of your lawn in the fall. Since the grass will soon go dormant and after a long winter’s nap, its growth next year will depend on how well you take care of it now.
Before you put that lawn mower away for the season, don’t forget to winterize your lawn and mow it one last time. Mowing in the fall isn’t exactly like mowing in the summer, so here are some tips for preparing your lawn for the winter and keeping your grass healthy.
What Happens to Grass in the Fall?
As the cold months approach, your grass goes dormant. It does not just die off, but it doesn’t keep growing, either. Because of this, it is important to take the proper steps. Long grass in the winter can cause problems in the spring and summer. Snow and water can seep into the grass and the ground, which can cause mold, fungus and other unwanted growth.
In the fall, grass still needs love and care before the snow sets in. This way, come spring, your grass will be fresh and ready to grow all over again.
How Late in the Fall Should You Mow?
Generally, you want to cut your grass 2 – 3 times before the first frost of the year. In Minnesota, that is typically in mid-to-late October. Subscribe to your local newspaper to learn when this typically occurs. When you mow before it gets frosty, you give your grass one last chance to fertilize and prepare for the winter. If you wait too long into the fall to mow, your grass may already be dormant and that can cause issues down the road by stunting growth or even permanently damaging the grass. Find the sweet spot and mow your lawn in the fall before it gets too chilly.
How Short Should You Cut Your Grass?
Keeping your grass too long in the winter can cause nasty mold or unwanted fungus to grow. Cutting your grass too short can damage the roots and stunt the growth of the grass. Finding that middle ground and cutting your grass just right is necessary to take care of your lawn in the fall. In the winter, your grass should be approximately 2 – 2.5 inches tall. This is a happy medium that prevents unwanted growth while still being long enough to, you know, grow again.
An important thing to remember is not to cut it down to that length all at once. As mentioned, cut your grass 2 – 3 times before the first frost of the year. Each time you mow in the fall, cut the grass a little shorter and change the deck height of your mower. If you need help figuring this out, we can help.
Final Fall Lawn Care Tips
As you check off your fall to-do list, make sure your caring for your yard is on there. The fall is the best time to fertilize your lawn to promote healthy growth for the next year. Giving it time to seep in and settle (while keeping feet off it) is an effective way to promote healthy grass growth.
Rake the leaves in your yard regularly and compost them. Leaves can make for great fertilizer for your grass or even your garden. Take advantage of natural fertilizer in the fall. Finally, clean up your yard and clear it of children’s toys, yard decorations or other things that may be lying around. In Minnesota, snow can strike at any time (just ask anyone about the Halloween snow storm of ‘91). Before the white stuff falls, clean up your yard and prepare it for the winter.
Maintain a Healthy Lawn with Scott’s Lawn Care
Fall cleanup is an important step to winterizing your lawn. Taking care of your yard in the fall through mowing, fertilizing and cleaning it will help you in the long run. Come spring time, you’ll thank your past self for taking the time to do everything the right way.
If you need help taking care of your yard, contact Scott’s Lawn Care. We provide expert lawn care services in Plymouth, Medina, Maple Plain and the greater Twin Cities area. Whether you are looking for simple fall lawn care or year-round lawn services, we can help. We’ll get your grass looking great all year long.