Guidelines for the Last Mow of the Season
As winter approaches, it is important to prepare your lawn for the long, cold season.
This means being educated and intentional in regards to a few things in your yard. The first is understanding how long you leave your grass at the last mowing. Another is paying attention to the amount of leaves and mulch left on the lawn. And lastly, you need to decide if you are going to fertilize and/or aerate your yard.
Usually the last mow of the season will be in October or November, but should occur after the last leaves of fall have come down. Continue mowing as long as the grass seems to be actively growing. When you begin to notice a drop off in grass growth, plan to lower the mowing height by one-half inch from your regular practice. Normally, this means a length of approximately 2 inches for the last mow or two of the season. Leaving grass at a height above 2 inches may encourage moisture retention which in turn can cause disease in the grass to develop during the winter.
There is no need to completely clean the lawn of natural debris. Leaf clippings and leaves on your lawn will enrich the soil, as well as, promote a healthy lawn when it returns in the spring. It is recommended that you walk through your yard though, and remove all weeds and crab grasses by their roots.
One of the last things to decide is in regards to fertilization and aeration. If you choose to fertilize, look for a fertilizer rich in nitrogen. One should ensure the fertilizer stays in the soil until spring. This can be accomplished by applying a slow release fertilizer. Aerating the lawn is important to allow the fertilizer to effectively reach the soil. Aerating tools are often available at home goods stores nationwide, as well as, can often be rented for the day from a variety of places.
By following these guidelines, you can expect a lush green lawn to return in spring.