Learn how to prep your lawn for fall and winter.
Get Started as Fall Arrives
Adjust Mower Height
Fertilize Cool-Season Grass
Deal With Weeds
Repair Bare Spots
Stay Off Too-Wet Grass
The best time to aerate grass is just before it enters its most active growth phase. For warm-season grasses, the timing is late spring-early summer. For cool-season grass, it’s early fall. Aerate so that grass will have at least four weeks to recover and grow before frost arrives. If possible, spread fall fertilizer on cool-season lawns shortly after aerating. It helps fuel recovery growth in the lawn.
Overseed With Ryegrass
If you want to keep your zoysia lawn green through winter dormancy, overseed with annual ryegrass. Avoid using perennial ryegrass. The annual type dies out as summer heat arrives, while the perennial type keeps growing—and might outcompete your desired turf grass for water and nutrients. Before overseeding, ask yourself which you can’t stand more: the sight of a dormant lawn or more months of (ryegrass) mowing chores.
Fall is the cut-off for laying sod in regions with tough winters. Make sure sod is down to allow at least four weeks of growth before frost typically arrives in your area. In mild winter zones, you can lay sod all winter long.
Revisit and revise lawn irrigation schedules. This is especially important if you have an automated irrigation system and fall brings rains to your region. Once lawns are dormant for winter, grass doesn’t need irrigated. Where lawns stay green, lower fall and winter temperatures reduce turf’s water needs. Cutting back on lawn irrigation conserves water and also saves you money. Continue to water newly seeded lawn areas or sod until grass is actively growing.