As temperatures begin to cool after a hot summer in Valparaiso, your yard needs special attention. Between falling leaves, drooping flowers, and other plants at the end of their lifecycle, there’s plenty of clean-up to do. The Grounds Guys of Valparaiso offers seasonal yardwork to keep your lawn looking neat and polished all year long. Let us help you clean up fallen leaves and replace any warm-weather flowers, turf, or grass with hardier cool-weather varieties.
Fall Clean-Up and Landscaping Your Yard
Do you know whether you have warm-season grass or cool-season grass? It makes a difference in how we care for it. If you’re not sure, our Valparaiso lawn care experts can help you determine the variety of grass in your yard and recommend the best course of action. Regardless of your lawn’s grass type, fall is an excellent time to have a soil assessment done, especially if you’re unhappy with the growth or appearance of your yard. The results will give you a starting point for any corrective measures.
If You Have Warm-Season Grass:
These grasses begin to harden off when the temperature drops, essentially preparing to hibernate for the winter. Fertilizing can interfere with that process, so it’s important not to fertilize warm-season grasses in the fall. However, adjusting the height of your lawnmower in the fall can help warm-season grasses get the nutrients they need without additional fertilizer. Raise the mower height by about ½ inch, so that you never cut the grass shorter than approximately 2 to 2 ½ inches, and mow the lawn when grass hits 3 to 3 ½ inches. Grass clippings will be fine enough to settle into the lawn and impart nutrients without becoming bulky and messy. A mulching lawnmower is excellent for this, too, and doesn’t require as much attention to grass height.
Warm-season grass can be overseeded with cool-season grass to give your lawn some color during the colder months. Opt for the annual varieties rather than perennial; annual cool-season grasses will die out when the weather warms, allowing warm-season grass access to necessary sun, water, and nutrients. You can also overseed to replace grass in bare patches, giving seeds time to germinate ahead of the spring growing season. The Grounds Guys of Valparaiso can perform this service for you and ensure you’re using the right seed type for your intended outcome.
If You Have Cool-Season Grass:
Cool-season grasses thrive in more moderate temperatures, which is why they’re popular in regions like ours with distinct seasons. These varieties remain active during the cooler fall and spring months, though they will appear to stop growing once frost and snow set in. During the winter, however, they are still undergoing cell and root development below ground. For this reason, fall fertilization is essential for cool-season grass. Our team can also perform overseeding for your lawn, which will give new seeds a chance to take root and build a healthy foundation before sprouting through the topsoil come spring. Overseeding is also a great way to replace any sparse areas or bare patches.
These grass varieties will stop growing at some point during the fall, at which point mowing is no longer necessary. However, cool-season grasses need adequate water, even once temperatures drop or growth slows. Because they continue to develop below the surface once the ground freezes, they need enough water to get them through to spring. Be mindful to water your lawn during any particularly hot or dry spells we experience in the fall.
Why Is Raking Leaves Important?
Have you ever stopped to wonder why we rake leaves from the yard after they fall? After all, they’re organic matter. Shouldn’t they just decompose and fertilize the lawn and, in the meantime, provide some lovely fall color? Is there a reason to rake leaves beyond yard aesthetics or creating a nice big pile to jump in? The answer is yes!
Raking leaves leads to healthier lawns. Dead leaves can smother grass underneath since a heavy leaf layer will block grass from getting the sunlight, water, airflow, and vital nutrients it needs for growth and root development. A layer of dead leaves plus moisture can also invite rot, mold, and pests, which can, in turn, lead to lawn diseases like brown patch and snow mold.
There’s no need to be overly meticulous about making sure every last leaf is raked for the sake of a healthy lawn, though. A stray leaf here or there shouldn’t cause any damage, and if your grass is still growing, you’re likely to shred any leaves into mulch with a mower, anyway. Ultimately, be watchful for larger leaves or areas with heavy leaf cover—that is, any spots where grass lacks sun, water, or oxygen. Our Valparaiso seasonal yardwork specialists can help you stay on top of falling leaves and healthy grass.
Raking for Lawn Health
Fall raking isn’t just limited to cleaning up fallen leaves. Deep raking for lawn thatch removal is sort of like brushing your hair to remove tangles. Lawn thatch refers to a buildup of dead turfgrass that sits on top of the soil. It can prevent the roots of your lawn from getting necessary moisture and nutrients, and it can also encourage insects or disease to take up residence in your yard. Thatch is generally inevitable, but over-watering or over-fertilizing your lawn or over-using pesticides can all cause it to build up faster and thicker. Vigorous raking can break up the thatch, which is an excellent reason to opt for a rake over a leaf blower when leaves start to fall.
If thatching in your yard is severe, core aeration may be necessary. The Grounds Guys of Valparaiso can perform this task quickly and efficiently using a lawn aerator, creating a foundation for a healthier lawn.
Tackle seasonal yardwork with help from The Grounds Guys of Valparaiso. Call our Fall Clean-Up service near you for a free price estimate or to schedule your fall clean-up service!