Late September through October is a perfect time to think about preparing your lawn for the cold NY winters and get a jump start on spring. First,run a core aerator over the lawn to help loosen soil and promote root growth. Core aeration pulls small plugs of soil out of the ground, leaving a small holes throughout the yard and little plugs on top of the yard. This will allow water, air, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots, resulting in strong deep roots. After core aeration, put down a starter fertilizer to help promote new root growth and give it a kick start in the spring. If you are looking for an organic fertilizer, Milorganite is a good choice.
The second step involves the dreaded fall leaves. To rake or not rake? It is important to get them off the yard to prevent them from forming a heavy mat that will kill the grass and enable mold growth.
Next, it’s time to clean up those flower beds.The fall is the perfect time to remove the dead annuals and divide and re-plant the perennials. When you plant the dormant plants in the fall they get all that water in the early spring that comes before planting time and you will not have to water as much. What if the soil is too wet to get on in the spring, or what if you’re just too busy to get in them? Take care of them now and you’ll be relieved you did when the snow disappears in a few months.
Finally, fall is the time to thin out your shrubs. This will help to limit the damage that snow can cause. Opening up the shrubs will allow the snow to fall through the shrub and not allow as much build up, limiting the number of broken branches.
If you follow these four steps you will have a big jump on the rush to get the lawn and flower beds ready in the spring!