Homeowners in the Midwest usually don’t see much of a fall with hot summer temperatures usually lasting throughout the month of September. Most of the Midwest is located in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-6 meaning that fall can be short lived through the month of October before the first frost occurs in late October or early November. However, there is still plenty for Midwesterners to do during their shortened fall season in order to care for their lawn.
Grass growth tends to slow down towards the beginning of fall for many areas of the Midwest and is greatly dependent on the amount of rainfall the region receives. Hot and humid conditions slow the rate of growth due to the fact that many Midwestern homeowners plant cool-season grass types like Kentucky Bluegrass or Tall Fescue. However, just because mowing isn’t needed on a bi-weekly basis doesn’t mean that you should forego your mowing altogether. Make sure to keep your lawn mowed all throughout the season until the first frost arrives in order to keep it healthy and strong. Allowing it to grow longer in the fall could encourage fungi and other issues to arise thanks to the high humidity of the Midwest area.
Thatch can easily build up under the crown of Midwest lawns which can greatly hinder the soil underneath from receiving the right about of nutrients. Make sure to dethatch and aerate a lawn every two years in order to keep the lawn healthy. Aerating allows small cylinders of soil to be pulled out of the ground allowing for more nutrients to reach deeper under the soil. Doing so creates a healthier lawn that can withstand the long and cold winters of the Midwest.
Many Midwest homeowners already choose to mow their lawns without bagging the clippings in order to return essential energy back into the soil. When it comes to your fall lawn care methods, using grass clippings helps by naturally breaking down the grass and returning nitrogen to the soil to help the lawn grow strong. Choosing to mow without a bag also helps the environment as there is less yard waste in landfills.
Another great way to add energy back into the soil is to allow leaves to remain on your lawn. Many Midwest homeowners choose to bag their leaves which doesn’t allow the natural nutrients from the leaves to help the lawn soil. Consider mulching leaves into small pieces and spreading them over the lawn in order to return those elements to the soil layer. You can also mow the leaves on the highest height of the mower in order to cut them into smaller pieces and spread them over the lawn.
Spreading a slow-release fertilizer over the lawn in the fall is a great way to make sure that your lawn is continuing to receive nutrients even throughout the long and cold winters of the Midwest. Consider adding a fertilizer in pellet form which will break down slower and help to add energy to the lawn in order to help it perk back up once Spring arrives. Other forms of natural fertilizer include organic options as well as compost from the garden.
You may notice areas of your lawn that had a tough time growing during this past summer season. Hot and humid temperatures coupled with weeks of little moisture can cause certain areas of the lawn to do worse than others. Consider adding more seed to these areas by overseeding them this fall. Spreading seed in those problem spots will help to cover the bare ground and minimize the risk of weeds popping up in the area. Choosing to overseed thin spots of the lawn as well is a good idea to help create a uniform and full lawn. Keep an eye on newly planted spots and make sure to provide extra water to encourage the seeds to take hold and have time to grow before winter arrives.
Fall is a busy time in the Midwest but caring for your lawn should be a priority in order to help your lawn withstand the cold and bitter winter temperatures that will soon arrive. Make sure to keep up on maintenance as well as adding nutrients to the soil in order to create a healthy and strong lawn. Planting new seeds in problem areas is also a good way to support the lawn as well. Consider all of these fall lawn care guide tips when caring for a lawn in the Midwest region.