You’ve probably already noticed some cooler nights creeping in along with an earlier sunset. These two changes point towards the summer winding down and the beginning of autumn’s vibrant foliage.

With these cooler temps setting in and much of summer’s humidity taking a break, aerating and overseeding is something you will definitely want to consider when it comes to your landscaping. 

This is the time to start planning your lawn for next year (yes, next year!) so you can get ahead of it. Creating your planting schedule in early to mid spring will help make the process feel more seamless.

Whether this year was your first as the resident landscaper or you have been elbow deep in the dirt for years, there are a few simple tasks to maintain every September: Aeration, fertilizing, and overseeding. 

Fall Lawn Care

Aeration

Aerating your lawn, put simply, involves making small holes or punctures throughout your yard to allow nutrients, fertilizer, seed, and water to reach the deepest roots, encouraging seedlings to grow and strengthen.

The most trusted method by the pros uses plug aerators. These handy tools can be manual in a push version, electric, or even added via hitch to a tractor depending on how large the job is! While renting this type of equipment is an available option for homeowners, keeping an aerator handy may be a worthwhile investment.

The method of aerating, if done regularly each September, can really prove beneficial in maintaining your lush lawn’s appearance by filling in any bare spots and thickening the grass that’s already there.

Even cleaning up after aerating is a breeze because there is, essentially, no need to clean up! The small plugs of soil pulled to create holes act as a natural fertilizer through their decomposition; there will be no need to rake them from your lawn. One less task to be done! Additionally, your lawn mower helps disperse the plugs back into the earth within just a few mows. In only a couple of weeks, it’ll be as if those plugs were never even there! 

Fertilizer

Almost immediately after aeration, you’ll want to fertilize so that the freshly-made holes aren’t obstructed by debris of any kind. A grass fertilizer added within this timeframe will get you the most for your lawn. We happily offer a Topdressing Mix to help get the job done! A sand and compost blend that breaks up the loose, tough clay soil and fertilizes where needed. With fresh aeration, your fertilizer has the opportunity to easily access the soil by penetrating to the deepest root where nutrients can do their thing, which is creating/maintaining a healthy lawn. We all know this is the tailgate-hosting, BBQ-ready, pigskin-throwin’, home-for-the-holidays kind of dream! 

Overseeding

Don’t wait too long to start overseeding! What is overseeding, you ask? Well, it really just means adding more lawn seed to your already existing lawn.

Many longtime landscapers overseed and fertilize at the same time, but if you run out of time to do them both in a day, no worries! Having other things to do, outside of landscaping and lawn care, is completely understandable and expected. As long as overseeding is completed within 48 hours of aeration, you are good to go! Waiting longer than that two-day mark, however, might have you running into issues with the decomposition of the aeration plugs or other debris getting into the holes. Your work will end up being much more challenging as the seeds will have a very difficult time getting to the deepest part of the soil to benefit from the fertilizer. 

Long story short – you’re great with 48 (hours, that is)!

Aerating, fertilizing and overseeding in the Midwest can be best accomplished this month, mid to late September, prior to the first significant frost. You don’t want to contend with punching holes through hard ground. Not only is that hard on the aeration equipment, but it’s also hard on you and does little benefit to the lawn. 

You’ll come to learn that what you do in the fall will certainly pay off in the spring!