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Extend the Life of Your Lawn

Let your lawn thrive with proper care and maintenance.

Ensure that your lawn stays green and healthy right through fall and winter so it will still look great next spring. To extend the life of your turf and prepare it for the cool season ahead.

SEE ALL THE STEPS

  •  There are 8 steps to completing this project:
    Step 1  Add amendments after a soil test
    Step 2  Fertilize to keep your lawn well fed
    Step 3  Eliminate weeds with the right herbicide
    Step 4  Fix patches by overseeding
    Step 5  Prevent soil compaction by dethatching and aerating
    Step 6  Mow your lawn regularly to prevent disease
    Step 7  Water your lawn to keep it from drying out
    Step 8  Clear your lawn of all debris
MATERIALS YOU WILL NEED

  • Grass Seed
    Herbicide
    Fertilizer
    Compost
TOOLS YOU WILL NEED

  • Rake
    Garden Hose
    Lawn Mower
    Leaf Blower
    Aerator
    Soil Test Kit

1  Add amendments after a soil test


Fall is a good time to test soil and add amendments because it gives soil enough time to absorb materials by spring, when plants need them. Test your soil; the results will tell you the type of fertilizer or soil amendments your grass needs. To increase organic matter, add manure, compost and mulched leaves. You'll find soil test kits and all the amendments you need in-store.


2  Fertilize to keep your lawn well fed


In warmer climates, avoid fertilizing warm-season grasses in late fall since it could interfere with the hardening-off process that these varieties go through entering dormancy. In colder climates, fertilize your lawn before the ground freezes so food is available in early spring. Look for a quick-release "winterizing" fall fertilizer with insect control such as Scotts WinterCare Fall Lawn Fertilizer, available at The Home Depot. For step-by-step instructions, read How to Fertilize.


3  Eliminate weeds with the right herbicide


Apply a selective herbicide, which is designed to kill a wide range of common weeds with just one application, available at The Home Depot. Early fall is the best time to control winter annual and perennial weeds.


4  Fix patches by overseeding


You'll find the right grass seeds for your region from brands such as Scotts at The Home Depot.


5  Prevent soil compaction by dethatching and aerating


Dethatch your lawn by raking to get rid of grass clippings, stems, roots and other debris that accumulate over time. Thatch can become a home for hostile insects and a breeding ground for lawn diseases (this is a good time to check for both). If your lawn is very compacted, soil will be heavy and may have become less able to absorb rainfall, thus increasing runoff. You may need to aerate by perforating it with tiny holes to allow for greater movement of water, fertilizer and air. This will stimulate strong roots and healthy growth.


6  Mow your lawn regularly to prevent disease


Continue to mow your lawn as long as it keeps growing. Lower the blade height to keep the grass short and help prevent fall diseases and winter snow mold. Never remove more than one-third of the height at any one mowing. To prepare garden beds for next spring, begin edging now.


7  Water your lawn to keep it from drying out


Keep watering until the ground freezes. Make sure that your lawn receives enough water to carry it through the long winter.


8  Clear your lawn of all debris


Do a final cleanup with a leaf blower or rake. Leaves, sticks, rocks and other late-season leftovers can harm next year's lawn and harbor pests and diseases over the winter. Either rake the leaves and add them to your compost pile or go over them with a mulching mower.