Fall Lawn Prep Steps for a Successful Spring
(guest post courtesy of The American Rental Association)
You’ve been caring for your lawn all summer long — mowing, fertilizing, and edging. As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, should your lawn care practices change? Absolutely. With different seasons come different methods of care. From using a different type of fertilizer to overseeding in specific areas, we’re here to help provide fall maintenance tips and where to locate tools to keep your lawn healthy in the fall.
The idea of skipping fall lawn care may be tempting but with the help of a few rental items and a couple of hours of time, you can enjoy the winter knowing your lawn will return beautifully in the spring.
To improve yard drainage and overall root health, you should aerate your lawn every two-to-three years. Aerating removes plugs of soil to allow water, air, and nutrients easier access to the roots. The process doesn’t take long and will result in a nutrient-dense lawn that can be done over the weekend. A variety of aerators can be found at rental stores across the country to fit all budgets and needs.
While fallen leaves may look nice, they won’t do your grass any favors. A pile of leaves on your yard blocks sunlight and traps moisture, which are two things your lawn isn’t used to. To avoid damage to your lawn, rake up the leaves often. On occasion, mow over the loose leaves to mulch them into smaller pieces as they will break down easier than whole leaves. To speed up the decomposition even more, consider using fertilizer right after mulching.
There are other ways to mulch leaves too, such as renting a leaf blower or leaf vacuum. These two pieces of equipment are helpful when large amounts of leaves pile up in hard-to-rake areas. Leaf blowers and vacuums work by sucking up the leaves and mulching them into smaller pieces, which are deposited into an attached bag. To finish mulching, empty the bag and spread the mulched leaves across your grass.
Fertilization throughout the fall season is important to boosting grass root growth. You should fertilize twice, once at the beginning of fall and again 6-8 weeks later to provide grass nutrients through the winter. Rather than spreading fertilizer by hand, you can rent one at your local rental store to avoid applying too much fertilizer in one spot. A spreader ensures even distribution of fertilizer across your lawn and applies just the right amount of product.
Choosing lawn fertilizer depends on which issues your lawn has. If you are looking to eliminate weeds, a weed and feed fertilizer will help eliminate weed growth while providing benefits of nutrients. To prep for grass for spring, consider a fertilizer made for the last application before winter.
Weeds thrive in sparse lawns, but overseeding can eliminate that opportunity. Overseeding is the planting of grass seed directly into existing grass to fill bare spots, improve the density of turf and thickness of the lawn. The best time to overseed is during fall due to milder temperatures and more moisture.
While overseeding may sound simple, it’s one of the more challenging fall lawn treatment tasks. For the grass seed to germinate, it needs to come directly into contact with the soil and have the correct amount of moisture. Another important factor is timing. The best time to overseed is when daytime temperatures are still warm enough for growth and nights are cooler. The seeds will be able to germinate and be well established before it gets too cold. Renting a gas-powered overseeder and other lawn and garden rentals can save time and cost on growing the lawn of your dreams.
Once all your fall maintenance is completed, look at the tools you have. By doing a quick maintenance and clean-up session yearly, you’ll keep your tools in shape to work next season.
Some tools may require more effort than others before winter storage, while other tools can simply be cleaned and stored. Lawn mower maintenance and storage preparation will be the largest task. The first thing you should do is add fuel stabilizer to what is left in the gas tank. Once that’s done, run the mower until all the gas is gone. This helps clean the lines and prevent any potential engine-related issues for the spring. Another maintenance task is to take off the mower blade to get it sharpened, empty the engine oil, and remove any debris from the deck.
Renting tools instead of buying them has many benefits, including skipping maintenance and storage. Tool rental is a great option for those who have minimal to no storage, don’t want to worry about maintenance, or prefer to skip the clutter.
For more information, contact your local, American Rental Association-affiliated rental store for available rental products to help with upcoming fall maintenance tasks. Rental stores provide numerous options for all your lawn care needs, including a stump grinder, dethatcher, and skid steer loaders. To locate the rental store nearest you, use RentalHQ or the RentalHQ app on your mobile device. Select a tool in the search bar and enter your location. RentalHQ will list the rental stores in the area along with their addresses, websites and phone numbers.
About ARA: (www.ARArental.org) The American Rental Association, Moline, Ill., is an international trade association for owners of equipment and event rental businesses and the manufacturers and suppliers of construction/industrial, general tool and party/event rental equipment. ARA members, which include more than 11,000 rental businesses and more than 1,000 manufacturers and suppliers, are located in every U.S. state, every Canadian province and more than 40 countries worldwide. Founded in 1955, ARA is the source for information, advocacy, education, networking and marketplace opportunities for the equipment and event rental industry throughout the world.