Summer into fall: time to prepare your lawn for the coming year.

Yes, it’s sad: summer has come to a close, and the recent drop in temperatures has pretty much made it official. But we’re fine… we’re coping. And we’re keeping busy. The change of seasons – and especially the change from summer to fall – is a key time in the life of your lawn. So before you shut the doors and start to hibernate, get outside! A few smart projects this weekend will give you a greener, healthier lawn, prettier flowers and all-around nicer backyard come next spring.

  • On the lawn.
    It turns out that early Fall is the best time to repair and renovate a lawn, helping it recover from the long hot summer. Aeration is a process where little cores of soil are extracted from the lawn using a machine you can rent from your local equipment rental company. Aeration allows oxygen and water to get into the root system, which can increase health but also helps deter disease and insect infestation. After aeration, add some seeds, with a seed spreader or a slit seeder (you’re going to make friends at the equipment rental store). Finally, fertilizer, weed & feed or compost top dressing should be applied to add nutrients to the soil, kill weeds and promote root growth. Mow your lawn to about 1.5″ tall before the snow starts falling.
  • Fall flower power.
    This is one of the best times to exercise your ability to delay gratification. How’s that? It’s bulb-planting time! Plant
    spring-blooming flowers such as daffodils, tulips, crocus and others. A few hours of elbow grease now can yield beautiful results in the spring.
  • Don’t leave it alone.
    Sorry for the pun, but this is just a reminder that you’re better off raking and blowing leaves in Fall, as they fall, rather than letting them accumulate all Fall and Winter long. Piles of leaves can harbor pests and disease that can harm your grass or decorative plantings.

Later, after the first frost, you can take care of chores like protecting young fruit trees or rose bushes. But for now, the few tasks listed above are a great way to spend a summer weekend, while the sun is still warm and the football season is still young.