Autumn is the best time of the year to rejuvenate grass.

With the cooler weather of autumn, yard care and lawn maintenance becomes an enjoyable task. Proper mowing, feeding, weeding, and watering assures the homeowner a lush, green, weed-free lawn in the coming spring.

September is the time to focus attention for cool-season grasses of the northern United States, while the latter part of September or early October is best for warm-season grasses found in the south. Fertilizers, feeding, weeding, and grass seeding efforts will be enhanced by the warm daytime temperatures and cooler, moist nights of autumn.

Lawn care tips in Fall

Achieving maximum benefits for year-round results, fall lawn care requires different tasks:

1. Mowing the grass

Proper mowing of grass helps generate healthier lawns. The mower blades should be as sharp as possible, as ragged grass blades expose a larger surface area to disease, pests and water loss. The proper cutting height should be 2 – 2 ½ inches. Fall cuttings should progress to a lower cutting height, without scalping, which helps the grass to harden and strengthen the root and crown system.

2. Mulching the leaves

Up to one inch of mulch can be used (about the size of a dime) to serve as a protective cover during the cold season. Clumps of leaves often accumulate in corners and low spots and should be removed as piles of leaves become a breeding spot for diseases and insect pests. When excess leaf cover is available, gather and start a compost pile for future garden use.

3. Aerating the lawn

Aeration should be done about two weeks before applying the year’s final fertilizer, or five to six weeks before the first frost. The best aerator has hollow tines that remove plugs of soil. Unsightly plugs that remain on the lawn can be diminished by mowing over the plugs. They will eventually dissolve and return their nutrients to the soil.

4. Feed and weed the lawn

Lawns that receive late-season fertilizing are usually the first to grow in the new season. Application should be well before the grass turns brown. The local agricultural department can assess a sample of the soil and recommend proper nutrients that need to be added. Otherwise, use a standard lawn fertilizer. Adding lime to the soil provides valuable nutrients.

Read instructions carefully and apply as recommended. Adjusting the spreader to one-half the recommended setting and applying first in an up and down pattern, then in a left-to-right pattern assures even coverage of the entire lawn surface.

If weeds are few and scattered, or confined to a few small areas, spot treating them with herbicide is usually sufficient. Be sure to complete treatments when temperatures are above 50 degrees, giving the herbicide time to do its job before winter cold. There is no need to apply herbicide over the entire lawn unless there is extensive weed infestation. Crabgrass is best controlled in the springtime.

What can I put on my lawn to kill weeds in the fall?

Use a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall to control this prickly weed. Apply a post-emergent herbicide to perennial weeds like Plantain, Dandelion, Knotweed, and Clover in the fall to send the lethal chemicals directly to the roots. This treatment will assist in reducing the amount of these weeds in the spring.

5. Apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to the soil.

Fertilize your lawn in the fall if you want it to appear nicer and be healthier. This technique will provide your lawn with lots of nutrients to help it survive the winter and grow stronger in the spring. As a result, the single most critical time of year to fertilize for a healthy lawn is in the fall. If you decide to aerate in the fall, fertilize immediately after to guarantee that the nutrients penetrate deeper into the soil.

When should I fertilize my lawn in the fall?

The greatest time to feed your grass is in the fall. As the weather cools, your lawn’s top growth slows while the roots continue to grow actively. A fall fertilizer treatment should be made when the plants are still collecting nutrients.

What is the best fertilizer for grass in the fall?

While this fall lawn fertilizer dose is critical, an application at the end of October or early November is also required. Apply a fertilizer with a 13-25-12 formula at that time. The phosphorus surge will drive root growth throughout November and into early December.

6. Seeding new grass

Fall is the best time of the year to establish or repair lawns. Seeding should be completed before colder weather arrives. Rake any bare spots and seed, making sure the spots stay moist until the grass has grown in. Check the labels on herbicides as some inhibit the growth of young plants.

Will grass seed grow if you just throw it on the ground?

The short answer is yes. There is a whole realm of lawn care beyond simply scattering seed on the lawn and without conducting any grass upkeep. Even while the seeds will sprout if simply tossed on the surface of the soil, doing so has detrimental consequences.

Can I put grass seed down in September?

September is an excellent month for reseeding ‘tired,’ weathered, or drought-damaged lawns. At other seasons of the year, you can overseed. Overseeding is also popular in the spring (March – May). Remember that grass seed germination is dependent on two primary factors: soil temperature and moisture.

7. Watering the lawn

Although cooler weather arrives and the nights become moist, it is important to continue to water the lawn until the ground is cold and beginning to freeze. Continuous watering throughout the fall season allows the grass to establish a strong root base.

When should I stop watering my lawn in the fall?

  1. Continue to provide extra moisture as needed until the ground freezes.
  2. You don’t need to water if your area receives one inch or more of precipitation every week.
  3. If your lawn is overwatered, fungal infections may develop.

8. Maintain lawn pest control.

Insects that live in your yard now can cause major difficulties once the winter season is over. If you spot a lawn pest problem on your lawn, take care of it as soon as possible in the fall to reduce the damage. You can use a pesticide or contact us to identify and eliminate lawn pests like grubs and armyworms. Weed treatment is especially important in the fall because it is a good time to remove many sorts of weeds.

9. Maintain a tight schedule.

All of these fall lawn care tasks must be completed in a timely manner. If you seed and fertilize too close to the end of the growing season, the soil will be unable to absorb nutrients. If you aerate while it’s still too hot outside, the process won’t be nearly as effective. A strict fall lawn care routine is essential for a healthy lawn next year.


Experts agree that proper lawn care in the fall has a greater impact for developing a great lawn grass throughout the year. Grass growth begins to slow in the fall and it is an excellent time to help lawns develop the stamina they need to survive the stress of winter, giving it a head start for the coming spring growth.