Fall Lawn Prep: Get Ready for the Cold

As the summer heat fades and the cooler temperatures of fall approach, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your lawn for the cold months ahead. Fall is an important time for lawn care, as proper preparation can help ensure a healthy lawn come springtime. In this guide, we’ll explore some essential fall lawn care tips to help you get your lawn ready for the cold.

1. Raking and Removing Leaves

Fallen leaves can smother grass and create a breeding ground for pests and diseases. Rake up leaves regularly and either compost them or dispose of them properly. Leaves left on the lawn can block sunlight and trap moisture, leading to mold growth and other lawn diseases. Additionally, decomposing leaves can create an acidic environment that is unfavorable for grass. Using a mulching mower to shred leaves into fine pieces can also be beneficial, as the smaller pieces can decompose quickly and provide organic matter to the soil.

2. Aeration

Aerating your lawn in the fall helps reduce soil compaction and allows water, air, and nutrients to reach the grass roots more effectively. Use a core aerator to remove small plugs of soil from the lawn. This process opens up the soil, creating channels through which essential nutrients can penetrate more deeply. Aeration is particularly important if your lawn sees heavy foot traffic or if the soil is heavy clay, as these conditions can lead to compaction over time. After aerating, the soil plugs can be left on the lawn to decompose naturally, adding further organic matter to the soil.

3. Overseeding

Fall is an excellent time to overseed your lawn to fill in bare patches and thicken the grass. Choose a high-quality grass seed that is suitable for your climate and lawn conditions. Overseeding helps to establish a dense turf that can outcompete weeds and resist pests and diseases. Before overseeding, rake the lawn to remove debris and create a good seedbed. Spread the grass seed evenly over the lawn, and then lightly rake or roll the area to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. Water the newly seeded area regularly to keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate and the new grass is established.

4. Fertilization

Fertilizing your lawn in the fall helps provide essential nutrients for grass growth and root development. Use a fertilizer specifically formulated for fall application, and apply according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fall fertilization is crucial because it supports root growth, which helps grass survive the winter and bounce back in the spring. A slow-release fertilizer is often a good choice, as it provides a steady supply of nutrients over time. Be sure to water the lawn after applying fertilizer to help it penetrate the soil and reach the grass roots.

5. Weed Control

Fall is also a good time to tackle weeds in your lawn. Apply an herbicide to target broadleaf weeds, taking care to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid harming desirable grass. Cooler fall temperatures can make weeds more vulnerable to herbicides, making this an effective time for weed control. Additionally, addressing weeds in the fall can prevent them from going to seed and spreading further. For best results, apply herbicides on a calm, dry day when rain is not expected for at least 24 hours.

6. Mowing

Continue to mow your lawn as needed in the fall, but gradually lower the cutting height to about 1.5 to 2 inches for the last few mowings of the season. This helps prevent snow mold and other lawn diseases. Shorter grass is less likely to mat down under snow, which can create an environment for mold and mildew. However, avoid cutting the grass too short, as this can stress the lawn and reduce its ability to photosynthesize and store energy for winter.

7. Watering

Keep an eye on the weather and continue to water your lawn as needed in the fall. Aim for about 1 inch of water per week, either from rainfall or irrigation. Consistent moisture helps grass store up energy for the winter and promotes deep root growth. However, be mindful of overwatering, especially as temperatures drop and the lawn’s water needs decrease. It’s important to water deeply and less frequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to prevent fungal growth.


Preparing your lawn for the cold months ahead is essential for maintaining a healthy and vibrant lawn. By following these fall lawn care tips, you can help ensure that your lawn survives the winter months and comes back strong and healthy in the spring. With a little extra care and attention, you can enjoy a beautiful lawn year-round. Proper lawn care during the fall sets the foundation for a lush, green lawn that will thrive when the warmer weather returns. For more detailed guidance or professional assistance, consider reaching out to lawn care experts who can provide personalized advice and services to meet your lawn’s specific needs.

For additional information and expert lawn care services, visit Thompson Lawn Care.