How to avoid 6 common lawn care mistakes this fall

Don’t make these lawn care mistakes this fall. (Getty Images)

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Summer may be ending, but that doesn’t mean you should put your lawn care on pause.

In fact, properly preparing your lawn during the fall season can make a huge difference to the state of your lawn in the coming growing season. When done correctly, fall yard work can help set up your lawn for year-round enjoyment, and save you from stressing about what’s going on under the snow once winter weather hits.

Whether you’re a new homeowner still trying to get the slope of lawn maintenance or are just looking to improve your home’s curb appeal, it can be a challenge to know just where to start. Luckily, we put together a list of 6 of the most common mistakes homeowners make when it comes to fall lawn care—plus key steps you can take during autumn to ensure your lawn is healthy and ready to thrive next spring.

1. Overwatering, or not watering at all

Watering your lawn is essential to growing — and maintaining — a lush, green yard. However, overwatering can lead to grass failing to develop deep roots.

Most lawns require about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, though exact amounts depend on both soil conditions and weather. Still, it typically takes about 30 minutes of watering for the water to get down to the grass’s roots. An oscillating watering sprinkler is a great option for larger yards, helping you maintain green grass by providing even water distribution.

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Dramm ColorStorm Oscillating Lawn Water Sprinkler. Image via Canadian Tire.

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While lawns still need watering during the fall, it’s important to remember that the amount of water required in cooler weather is less than what your lawn needed in the hotter summer temperatures. When a lawn is overwatered, water will likely evaporate before your grass has a chance to absorb it.

To ensure your lawn’s getting the correct amount of H2O, it’s important to buy a garden hose that won’t leak while attached to your sprinkler. Choose one that’s durable and resistant to leaks and punctures, to help avoid overwatering.

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2. Letting leaves and debris pile up

With our busy schedules it can be tempting to let twigs, leaves and other debris pile up on your lawn. However, once fallen leaves get wet, they become harder to remove and trap water on your grass, keeping it from properly drying out.

Since grass requires sunlight for healthy growth, it’s important to remove the mess as soon as possible. fix one? Have a sturdy steel rake on hand to assist with cleanup and try not to let those leaves pile up. Another alternative for those with larger lawns is a leaf blower that can help you do the job in half the time.

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3. Mowing with dull blades

When mowing your lawn at any time of the year, it’s important to make sure that you’re using sharp blades. That’s because dull blades rip through the grass rather than cutting, leaving jagged ends that will likely turn brown.

Fall is the perfect time to sharpen your lawnmower blades, ensuring you get a few good clean cuts in before winter. A tool sharpener is a great option to help you grind, sharpen and hone your blades until they’re mowing with ease.

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4. Forgetting to fertilize

Although raking the yard tends to get all the attention in the fall, there’s more to lawn care than just that. Fertilizing your lawn during the fall is also a key step to ensure its year-round health.

For best results, you’ll want to apply a fertilizer around Halloween to help your lawn’s roots withstand the stress of the winter. Specifically formulated for the season, these types of fertilizers help improve winter hardiness, resulting in a healthier, greener lawn come spring.

Bag of Scott's Turf Builder Fall Lawn Fertilizer

Scott’s Turf Builder Fall Lawn Fertilizer. Image via Canadian Tire.

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5. Letting weeds run wild

If live and let live is your preferred method of lawn care, you may end up regretting it come spring — especially when it comes to weeding.

Luckily, early fall is a great time for weed control. Using treatments like weed killers can stop dandelions and other perennial weeds from coming back with a vengeance, and you can also remove weeds manually using tools like a cordless trimmer, or some good old-fashioned elbow grease.

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Walensee Stand Up Weeder Hand Tool. Image via Amazon.

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6. Leaving aeration for spring

In case you’re not familiar with the term, aeration can help get more oxygen, water and nutrients to your grass’s roots, resulting in a healthier lawn. And, since lawn aeration requires making small holes in your yard, it’s all the more reason to schedule this key task during fall—since it means your lawn will have all of fall, winter and spring to recover.

Hand tools are excellent choices for loosening and aerating soil in smaller lawns, while you may want to invest in a lawn aerator for larger patches of grass. Pro tip: It’s a great idea to follow up aeration with fertilization as it will allow the fertilizer easier access to your lawn’s roots.

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Yardworks Stainless Steel Hand Cultivator. Image via Canadian Tire.

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