Preparing your lawn for the winter ahead doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. The result, a lush green lawn is well worth the effort of seeding and fertilizing one last time. Here’s where to start:
Mow your lawn for as long as it continues to grow in the fall. When mowing for the last time leave about two inches of grass. Less height leaves your lawn unprotected, more can result in problems with fungus or disease in the spring. Aerate your lawn. These small holes allow water and other nutrients to get down to the roots where their needed most. Rake or mulch leaves throughout the fall. Dead leaves on the lawn prevent the sun from reaching the grass, while holding in moisture that could encourage fungus growth.
Prior to the first frost, seed and fertilize following instructions carefully. Too much fertilizer can actually kill your lawn. Listed on the bag of fertilizer under the abbreviation NPK, you will find three numbers. These numbers refer to three elements contained in the fertilizer: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These elements in sufficient amounts, result in a stronger greener grass that is disease resistant. The three numbers indicate the percentage of the respective elements in the fertilizer. Your local hardware store should be able to give you a good idea of the requirements of the soil in your area.
Now, with your lawn ready for its long winter’s nap, you have only one thing left to do. Taking the time to stow your lawnmower properly at the end of the season can add years of life to the machine. Here are the steps to follow:
Emptying the fuel tank and drain the oil
Today’s blends of gas and ethanol can separate when left sitting in the tank clogging up the engine. Ask about a Fuel Stabilizer at your local hardware store. Adding fuel stabilizer to the gas remaining in the tank will clean the fuel system thoroughly. This, along with draining the oil, will result in a clean engine that will produce less harmful exhaust emissions when you start up again in the spring.
Replace filters and remove the spark plug
Taking time to replace filters and spark plugs each year will guarantee a smooth and more energy efficient engine.
Clean deck and sharpen the blade
Hose off the deck or if necessary gently scape of old grass clippings that could promote rust. If you sharpen the blade in the fall you won’t have to remember to next spring. A sharp blade uses less fuel and is better for you mower and your lawn.