The weather is still plenty hot in Pensacola, and it will stay that way for awhile. But, with the start of another school year, we’ll soon feel the evenings starting to cool down. And, before you know it, it’s going to be fall again.
So, now is a great time to start planning ahead to make sure you have everything you need to structure and carry out an effective maintenance schedule for your Pensacola lawn. Here’s what you need to know to create a fall lawn care schedule and get to work:
The growing season is starting to slow down
While we still see sunshine and rain throughout most of the fall and the temperatures stay warm enough to support most local plant growth through November, your grass isn’t going to grow as quickly in the fall as it did throughout the spring and summer months.
As a result, you’re likely going to need to mow less often, which is good because there are other valuable lawn care tasks you can use that time to accomplish.
Your watering schedule should also begin to taper off as days get shorter and temperatures drop. With the first few months of fall also being prime time for tropical storms, it’s possible you won’t need to water much at all depending on how much rain the area receives.
Additionally, naturally slower growth in the fall is your lawn’s way of winding down for the winter when a healthy lawn goes dormant. So, it’s important not to artificially hinder or stop this process by over-fertilizing the grass in the fall. While it could help your grass maintain a bright green color through the holidays, you will likely regret it next spring when, instead of coming back to life, your lawn is brown, flat, or dead.
Focus on the soil
Since the grass is growing less, it gives you an opportunity to put some more focus on your lawn’s soil. This can be done in a few different ways:
- Stay vigilant against fungal outbreaks - The cool, wet conditions of the fall are optimal for some common species of lawn fungus (like Large Patch and Leaf Spot) to flourish. Learn how to identify these lawn diseases before they get too strong a foothold in your lawn.
- Balance the soil’s pH - While maintaining a healthy soil pH balance is important year-round, fall is an especially good time to actively test and treat the soil because the dormant months ahead offer a chance for the soil to balance out fully and for dormant plant roots to fully absorb the resulting nutrients.
- Apply a “winterizer” - Lawn care professionals will often apply a treatment to the soil in the late fall to protect vulnerable plant roots. This treatment restores carbohydrates and grows the root system in preparation for surviving a potentially harsh winter.
Clean up fallen leaves
It’s commonly understood that fallen leaves provide a beneficial layer of insulation and source of nutrients for grass that can help your lawn survive the winter. While there’s some truth to that, it can be taken too far.
If your lawn includes a large number of deciduous trees and a thick blanket of dead leaves covers areas of the yard, it’s probably doing more harm than good. These thick layers of organic waste can effectively smother the grass and make it harder for the grass to prepare for winter dormancy, making it weaker in the spring.
Pine needles are more prevalent in the fall, and they make excellent mulch. Rake them up and use them in your vegetable garden, flower garden, and shrub beds.
Apply dormant oil
Dormant oil is a simple and effective way to protect plants from many common insects and diseases that will often attack during the dormant winter months when some of the plant's natural defenses may be less effective. Therefore, it’s a perfect project for rounding out your lawn maintenance schedule late in the fall.
By applying a thin coating of dormant oil to trees and shrubs, you can manage scale, aphids, mites, and other soft-bodied insects that can do a lot of damage to these plants during the late fall and early winter. It can also cut down on powdery mildews and other diseases that aphids tend to spread.
While you’re likely to being mowing less, as you can see, there’s no shortage of activity required by your lawn in the cooler fall months. Most of our customers maintain professional lawn maintenance straight through the fall to be sure they’re their lawns will stay healthy, lush, and vibrant until natural winter dormancy, and bloom healthy again in the spring.
If you’d like to discuss having professionals maintain your Pensacola lawn care this fall, contact Lawn Master today.