Fall Maintenance Tips

Lawn watering

  • No watering required.  Traditionally, the North Bay area receives enough rainfall to meet your lawn and garden needs.  Remember, always watch the weather ...  rain is free.

Mow like a pro...

  • Mow High.  Raise your lawn mower blades to a height of 7.5 cm (3 inches).  Longer grass has deeper roots, can crowd out weeds and above all, retains the lawn soil's moisture.
  • Cut correctly.  Only mow when needed during the Fall and never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade.  Short blades of grass are stressful for your lawn and make it difficult for its soil to retain moisture.  
  • Leave the grass clippings.  Stop bagging or racking up your lawn clippings.  Clippings provide valuable nutrients (nitrogen), help retain moisture and make it difficult for weeds to grow.  Clippings break down quickly and disappear within a day or two.
  • Keep your blades sharp.  Dull mower blades tear the grass, and this can lead to disease and heat stress.  Sharpen your blades twice a season.  

Fertilize naturally

  • Use natural fertilizer.  Natural fertilizers such as grass clippings and triple mix are ideal for healthy lawn care.  Fertilize when the top growth has stopped and the roots are still storing nutrients for next season.  This encourages deep, healthy roots that will resist insect pests and help plants retain moisture during dry periods.  Fall fertilizing also helps your grass and garden grow quickly in early Spring.  It's best to fertilize after aerating your lawn.  Check with your local garden nursery for other natural ways to keep your grass and soil healthy.

Aerate to free the flow

  • Use a lawn aerator.  Help your lawn breath ...  use an aerator.  It removes plugs of soil from your lawn, allowing water, oxygen flow and fertilizer to reach your grass' root zone.  Aeration is an excellent way for clay-based and compacted soil to retain nutrients and moisture.  For smaller lawns use a pitchfork, aerator shoes or a foot-press aerator.  If you have a large lawn, you can rent or purchase aerators at most garden centres or equipment rental locations.

Seeding for survival

  • Over seed your lawn every Fall.  The month of September is usually the best time of year to over seed.  Apply grass seed to thicken the lawn and crowd out weeds.  Weeds grow and spread quickly in a thin lawn.  Use a blend of grasses, especially perennial ryegrasses and fescues, which need less care and can resist bugs.  Young grass can survive the winter and turn into a thick lawn in the Spring.

Mulch for moisture

  • Top up the mulch to your lawn and garden.  Mulching in late Spring is best, while Fall is the time to top up, or add mulch if you didn't do it earlier.  Before topping up, check the depth of the mulch already around trees and bushes.  Remember, you only need a 1" to 2" layer of fine mulch or a 2" to 4" layer if it's coarse mulch.  Apply evenly and never pack it down and give the mulch a good soaking.  Leaves, grass clippings and wood chips are all excellent types of mulch and topping up is a great way to protect your trees and garden from winter damage.

Weed, then seed

  • Pull weeds.  Get rid of weeds by pulling or digging them up when the soil is moist.  You're sure to get more of the weed roots and disturb less of the soil.  Drop some grass seed in the hole to discourage the weed from returning.
  • Stop using pesticides!It is now banned in Ontario; hoever you can use certain lower-risk pest control products.  For more information visit our pesticides section.

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