As the air cools and summer fades, piles of colored leaves start to fall from trees. Your lawn beckons attention before the snow covers it with a blanket of white. Some lawn projects can be simple like raking on a regular basis or mowing with a vacuum bag style tractor system. Raking, or specifically a lack of leaves allows your lawn to capture more sunlight as the deciduous trees lose their green canopy. Increased sunlight can really help shaded and weak areas capture additional energy to help prepare for the winter. In some cases, this vital time period could be a month or more of growing before slowing to the point of near dormancy with the onset of freezing weather. Any leaves left on the lawn can cause a mulching action by inhibiting sunlight from reaching the leaf blades below. Don’t allow piles of leaves to sit for weeks on end, or the grass underneath will suffer the consequences possibly even leading to damage. Keeping your lawn clean in the fall can really improve the chances of winter survival and minimize damage.
Turf that is left covered with leaves or lots of pine needles face a lack of air, light, and often succumb to ice damage in a weakened state. As simple as raking or leaf removal is, it is very important to all lawns as they approach winter.
Autumn is also a great time harden your lawn off for winter. A wonderful mowing height during the growing season is 3? as a standard. Your mowing height can be lowered as October fades into November. Drop your mowing deck a half-inch a week starting in late October with the final cut in mid to late November. The slow drop in mowing height helps harden your lawn off and slows growth in addition to falling temperatures.
Plan ahead now and rest easy this winter knowing you did all you could to help your lawn make it into a new year!