Lawn and Garden Care
Fall Tips for Natural Lawn and Garden Care
Fall is the best time to prepare your lawn and garden for Spring. These easy steps will help reduce the need for chemicals.
1. Aerate and seed your lawn
Over time, the soil under your lawn is compacted. This prevents water, air and nutrients from reaching plant roots. Aerating your soil means opening holes so your lawn can breathe more easily. Aeration can be done with a mechanical aerator which can be rented at garden centers and tool rental stores. A pitch-fork will work almost as well. After aeration, apply grass seed to thicken the lawn and crowd out weeds. Weeds grow and spread quickly in a thin lawn. Use a blend of grasses, especially perennial ryegrasses and fescues, which need less care and can resist bugs. Young grass may survive the winter and turn into a thick lawn in the Spring. However, a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to complete fall seeding before Thanksgiving, depending on the risk of frost.
2. Proper mowing techniques
Mow high. To discourage weeds, keep your lawn blade sharp and at a height of 7 to 9 cm. Never cut off more than one-third of the grass at a time. Remember to service your lawn mower, as required. Many lawn problems can be solved if proper mowing techniques are implemented.
3. Use natural fertilizer
Fertilize in the Fall, when the top growth has stopped and the roots are still storing nutrients for next season. This encourages deep, healthy roots that will resist insect pest enabling plants to endure dry periods. Fall fertilizing also helps your grass and garden to grow more quickly in early Spring. Avoid over-fertilizing since it can create problems for your property. It is best to fertilize after aerating your lawn. In order to determine which product line is best suited for your lawn in terms of either natural or organic fertilizers, it is recommended that you contact either your local garden center or lawn care company or landscape professional for advice.
4. Apply mulch to your garden
Adding mulch, such as well composted leaves, grass clippings and wood chips, helps your garden retain moisture and provide valuable nutrients. Spread mulch on garden beds and around trees to protect from winter damage and to reduce weeds.
5. Increase the depth and quality of your soil
You can add soil and compost as a top dressing or when installing new areas of your lawn. Many lawns have been installed with insufficient soil depth (less than 10-15 cm) or poor quality soil with little or no organic matter. This leads to landscapes with more weed and pest problems. Consider gradually building up soils each year with a thin layer of soil (.6-1.25 cm) or compost top dressing spread evenly over the lawn. Adding compost or well rotted manure (preferably cow) is very beneficial for soil development for turf grass, especially after a thorough aeration.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality Lawn and Garden
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality