10 Helpful Fall Lawn & Garden Tips

Posted: Oct 26 2020

Tip #1: Fertilize Your Lawn

If you only fertilize once a year, then fall is a great time to do this. When applying fall fertilizer, it is recommended to do this approximately 3 weeks before the last cut of the season.

“Fertilizing in the fall provides energy and nutrients for the grass roots as they multiply in cooler weather before the grass goes dormant. The roots store food for the winter as well, which gives the grass an initial growth spurt when it emerges from dormancy in the spring.” Source:  Family Handyman

Synthetic lawn chemicals do not provide essential nutrients necessary for healthy lawn and turf grass growth. Lawn chemicals, including chemical fertilizers, can kill soil biomass, deplete the soil and, as a result, inhibit healthy grass growth.

Conversely, organic fertilizers stimulate soil biomass and promote healthy root and grass growth. Natural fertilizers improve soil porosity, drainage and aeration, reduce compaction and improve the water holding capacity of the soil helping grass resist drought. One estimate indicates that a 5% increase in organic matter quadruples the soil's ability to hold and store water. 

Weeds will flourish with high nitrate levels and poor soil structure and are overall indicators of poor soil health. Controlling weeds is all about soil building and chemical fertilizers and pesticides do nothing to build or improve soil structure. Hard, tight soils with low calcium and/or sulphur content, low organic matter and low active biomass (microorganisms), promote weed growth. Loose, healthy soil aids in controlling weeds.

Earth Smart Solutions offers a Natural Lawn Fertilizer - ESLF.

ESLF is a super concentrated, premium quality natural fertilizer for seasonal lawn and turf grass care, formulated with complex carbohydrates, macro and micro nutrients, amino acids, enzymes, proteins, vitamins and minerals. It also contains a variety of natural substances for soil and plant improvement. 

ESLF can provide quick results along with sustained color. 

 

Tip #2: Take Care of the Leaves

If you don’t rake the leaves on your lawn, they will turn into a wet soggy barrier come winter and the grass blades will suffer as they will not be able to breathe or absorb moisture into dry roots.

Options:

  • Use a blower to blow leaves off lawn
  • Rake and compost
  • Use your lawnmower to collect leaves and use for compost
  • Use your lawnmower to mulch the leaves and leave on your lawn. This helps the soil absorb their nutrients and is good natural fertilizer for your lawn.

Dry leaves are carbon rich and are excellent “brown materials” to use in your compost, to create that 1/3 nitrogen (green) material and 2/3 carbon (brown) material combination. Compost is nutrient rich, helps retain water, lightens the soil and is very effective to use as a lawn fertilizer, in your garden and flower beds. 

For more Fall Composting Tips, check out our blog.

 

Tip #3: Make your Last Cut Shorter

For a thick lush healthy lawn, it is recommended to keep it 2-1/2” to 3” in height. As your grass stops growing and time draws for your last cut before winter, cut your lawn to 2” to 2-1/2”, but no shorter.
Cutting you lawn a bit shorter for winter will help reduce the chance of snow mold forming and it will stand up straighter over winter. If you leave your grass too long over winter, you risk tall grass blades laying down from the weight of winter and smothering new grass growth.

 

Fresh grass clippings are nitrogen rich and act as compost activators. Add grass clippings to your compost in thin layers to avoid matting. In order to balance the carbon nitrogen ration (1/3 nitrogen to 2/3 carbon), you will then need to add double the volume in brown materials. Earth Smart Solutions offers a natural Compost Starter as well. 

Our high quality compost starter can produce odourless, hygienic, mature compost that can be safely applied to the land for improved soil structure, moisture retention and add an additional wide range of nutrients. 

 

Tip #4: Water Your Lawn

Before putting your hoses away for the winter, make sure you give your lawn a good soaking.

“Fall watering helps your lawn recover from summer stress and gain strength for the winter ahead. Also, if you fertilize in the fall, watering is necessary for the fertilizer to dissolve and soak into the ground where it's needed.”   (Source:  Family Handyman)

 

Tip #5: Aerate Once a Year

Aerating your lawn helps to relieve compaction caused by foot traffic and creates extra pore space in the soil, allowing nutrients, water and air to enter, helping the grass roots to thrive. 

Contact a local lawn care company to perform this service or rent an aerator. Aerating is recommended at least once a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip #6: Garden & Flower Beds: Clean Up & Compost Finished Annuals & Vegetables

If you have flowering annuals, after they are finished flowering for the season, collect them for composting, cutting larger plants into smaller pieces to make composting easier. It is not recommended to compost the root mass or any diseased plants.

Spread finished annuals in garden beds to use as a natural soil amendment and till into the soil in spring.

 

Tip #7:  Improve Soil Health

“Most soils contain “tied up” nutrients that need to be made accessible to plants in order to optimize both growth and yield." 
The Andersons Humic Solutions

Earth Smart Solutions is the Western Canadian distributor for The Andersons and offer a variety of their soil amendment products.

The Andersons' products are a group of humic acid-based soil amendments designed to reduce the effect of the environmental stresses of water, temperature and soil conditions on crops.

If your soil isn’t looking as healthy as it should, then check out our blog for more “Tips to Improve Soil Health”.

 

Tip #8:  Apply Mulch to Trees

According to Arbor Day, ”Mulch is one of the best things you can do for your trees heading into the winter. Adding a layer of organic mulch in the fall protects the soil from moisture loss and helps regulate soil temperature throughout the winter.

 

“Planting sites which are more exposed to freezing and thawing are prone to cracks in the soil, which can dry out a tree’s roots. Mulch acts as a blanket and can prevent this kind of damage.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip #9: Prune Your Trees

Prepare trees and shrubs for winter by pruning diseased or damaged stems and weak branches that could snap under heavy snow. 

 

Tip #10: Drain Garden Hoses & Store for Winter

After you’ve given your lawn a final good water in the fall, make sure to drain your garden hose and store for the winter. If you don’t you risk splitting the hose open when the water inside freezes. And while you're at it, don't forget to turn off the water to your external taps.

Please contact us at 1-866-444-7174 or via email at info@earth-smart-solutions.com if you have any questions and for more information on our products.

Sources: 

Family Handyman, “Fall Home Maintenance Checklist”

Canadian Living, “15 Gardening Jobs for Fall”

Arbor Day, “Winter Tree Watering Tips”

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