How to Prepare Your Lawn for Fall

Little boys raking autumn leaves. Two brothers aged 7 are helping to clean autumn leaves from the garden lawn.

Each new season presents a new checklist for homeowners to properly take care of their lawn.

As summer days lounging on the lawn turn into afternoons carving pumpkins on the porch, your lawn needs special care before winter sets in.

From late August to mid-October, here are 5 steps you can take to prepare your lawn for the fall.

Late August: Landscape Maintenance

If you’ve been planning on installing a new landscape feature in your yard, the fall is an excellent time for landscaping projects.

Whether it’s a new walkway, patio, or lighting, you can install these features without overheating in the summer heat, and still enjoy them for the months to come — Colorado typically enjoys sunny autumns.

If you have wooden features in your yard like wood decks, chairs, or patios, the fall is a great time to fill cracks, holes, or add a layer of treatment or stain before the ice sets in.

Early September: Build a Compost Bin

In a climate as dry as Colorado, food composting can be a game changer to enrich your lawn and garden soil. Fall brings dead branches, leaves, and exhausted flowers that can be added to your compost pile.

It can take several months for organic food scraps to compost, so it’s important to start early so it will be ready for next summer. Build your compost bin in early September to allow yourself plenty of time to start breaking down organic materials before next summer rolls around.

New to composting? Learn how and why you should start composting today.

Late September: Plant New Shrubs

As autumn sets in and the temperature starts to fall, it’s a great time to clear out any dead plants to make way for new shrubs in your lawn. The cool temperatures allow the roots to establish in the soil, so they’ll have a better chance of enduring the incoming snow.

Pro-tip: Shrubs that are native to Colorado are typically low-maintenance and adaptable to freezing temperatures.

Early October: Fertilize Your Lawn

Though many homeowners fertilize their lawn in early spring, it can create excess growth. Fertilizing your lawn in the fall before you turn your sprinklers off will both prepare your lawn for winter and allow it to spring back without the excess growth once winter is over.

If you have cool-season turf, fall is also the time to aerate your lawn. Cool-season turf emerges in early fall and grows quickly once temperatures drop and weed competition is reduced.

Learn more about why and when you should be aerating your lawn.

Mid-October: Add More Mulch

If you use wood mulch in your yard, make sure to fill in any sparse areas before the snow and ice sets in. Your mulch should be 3-4 inches thick to help your plants survive the change of seasons.

A thick layer of mulch helps your soil retain moisture, which in turn helps your plants stay hydrated throughout the winter. Mulch also provides insulation, which shields your plants from the cold.

Getting your lawn ready for fall can be time-consuming — between trimming bushes, raking leaves and aerating, enlisting the help of a professional can help you save time and get the job done right. Learn more about how General Services Corporation can take care of your lawn maintenance needs this fall.