Fall Lawn Care Tips for Central Indiana

How to maintain your lawn in Indianapolis in the Fall

As the leaves fall, so does the temperature. This brings change to what our lawns need.  We are here to help you, so you can have the lawn you dream of. When the fall brings cooler temperatures, the way we maintain our lawn needs to be adjusted.

Fall Mowing Recommendations

When the fall brings cooler temperatures, the way we maintain our lawn needs to be adjusted.

Sharpen Your Mower Blades

Your mower blade should be sharpened often. Make sure to replace the blade when it develops any nicks, bends, or other damage.

Mow Tall

Lawns should never be mowed shorter than 3.5 to 4 inches, even in the fall.

The ideal mowing height for Indiana lawns is between 3.5 to 4 inches. There are many benefits to mowing tall. It promotes deeper root growth, which improves drought tolerance. Tall turf provides better shade for the root system, conserving water, and blocking out the growth of unwanted weeds. Longer grass blades provide more area for your lawn’s critical process of photosynthesis.

Mow Often

As leaves start to fall, they can cause uneven cutting when too many are allowed to accumulate on the lawn before mowing. Increasing your mowing frequency during this stage of the season will help prevent this from occurring.

Don’t Bag

Grass clippings are one of the easiest ways to provide nutrients to your lawn. They break down quickly and return nutrients to the soil. Make sure the grass is dry, as wet grass clumps together and suffocates the grass growing beneath it.

For more mowing tips, check out our Mowing Recommendations for Central Indiana lawns.

Fall Watering Recommendations

Your lawn needs water to thrive and survive. Watering too little or too much can harm your lawn. That is why your Lawn Pride experts are here to help you find that balance.

When to Water

The best time to water your lawn is in the early morning hours twice a week. If needed, you can water your lawn in the early evening hours; however, make sure the water on the lawn has time to soak up the water. Letting too much water sit on the lawn overnight can lead to turf disease.

How to Water

If you are a homeowner with the convenience of an in-ground irrigation system, watering is as easy as making sure you are programming your system correctly. However, not all homeowners have it that easy. Your lawn needs 1-1.5 inches of water per week. Natural rain will do the trick, but it’s important to monitor your grass and water when mother nature isn’t providing your lawn with what it needs. This is about the equivalent of watering for thirty to forty-five minutes twice a week.

For more watering tips, check out our Watering Recommendations for Central Indiana lawns.

Leaves on Lawn

Fall is when trees start to drop their leaves. Leaves are a great source of natural fertilizer. Don’t strain your back and deprive your lawn of nutrients. Instead, mulch them. Your lawn will thank you. Most mowers can mulch the leaves for you. Mulching cuts the leaves into small pieces. Allowing them to break down into the soil. The Lawn can then absorb the nutrients.

Hard to Control Weeds

Now is the time to tackle your stubborn weeds like Wild Violets and Ground Ivy (a.k.a. Creeping Charlie). While these weeds can be weakened with the use of broadleaf weed control throughout the year, they are effectively controlled the best in the fall. To learn more about common Central Indiana weeds, check out the Purdue Master Gardener Guide to Common Lawn Weeds.

Grub Watch

This is the time of year that grub damage can start to appear in lawns. Here are a few ways to tell if grubs are damaging your lawn.

Dead Grass

There are many reasons for turf to die and having grubs in your lawn is one of them. Often, grub damage can be spotted if your grass starts turning brown, is irregularly shaped, and doesn’t change color despite all the watering or rain it receives. If these dead patches start showing up during the summer or early fall, especially if you regularly water your lawn, then grubs could be the culprit.

The Carpet-Roll

The most definite way of telling if you have grubs is the carpet-roll method. If you suspect you have a grub infestation, then gently lift up the affected area. If the grass easily lifts up and rolls in one piece, then your issue is grubs. Grubs are classified as a below-ground insect and only consume grassroots while keeping the grass leaves, stems, and thatch intact. This makes it relatively simple to diagnose once the damage has been done. Click here to learn more about grubs worm damage.

Think you have a grub problem? Contact Lawn Pride today!

Lawn Fungus

Fall weather can bring turf diseases such as Red Thread and Dollar Spot to your lawn. These diseases can develop at any time of the year but are most common in the spring and fall when temperatures are cooler and when moisture is in excess. Luckily, these particular types of lawn diseases can typically be treated with a simple nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Although in severe cases, a fungicide may be needed. See our turf tips guide to Common Lawn Fungus in Central Indiana to learn more.

Fall Aerating and Seeding

Lawns need air, water, and food to grow. Pulling plugs throughout the yard will help promote optimal grass growth. Aerating in the fall is recommended. Aeration opens up the root zone, promoting new root growth. This is also the best time to reseed your lawn. Weeds naturally start to die off in the fall as the temperature starts to cool. This means that your new seed won’t have to fight for room to grow against as many weeds as it would if you seeded in the spring (when weeds are at the peak of the growing season).  Aeration and seeding is an important step in proper lawn maintenance. Just like all living things, your grass will not live forever. Reseeding your lawn also helps keep weeds out. Weeds can only grow where there is room; reseeding your lawn will thicken your turf, naturally keeping weeds at bay. Contact us today to get a free estimate on our Fall Aeration and Overseeding.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q: Do I have to pick up my leaves before you put down my next application?

A: Not at all. Our fertilizer will fall through the leaves like sugar on cornflakes. We recommend maintaining a regular mowing schedule during the fall to mulch the leaves into small pieces and allow them to filter into the turf. Leaves are a good source of nutrition for your lawn and help improve the soil. Not to mention, mulching leaves with a mower is much easier than raking and blowing.

Q: I had my yard seeded, but the grass hasn’t come up yet, and the ground is going to freeze soon. Did I waste my money?

A: A single frost doesn’t mean that soil conditions will not continue to be favorable for proper seed germination. Seeds can lay dormant in the soil for a long time, waiting for the right conditions to begin its germination and maturing process.  Once conditions are right, the seed will grow.  The same holds true for grass seed you’re trying to introduce late in the season! When spring arrives, you’ll get continued germination from the seed planted the previous fall. We recommend waiting until late April or even early May in Central Indiana, to evaluate the effectiveness of a late fall seeding.

Check out our guide for Central Indiana Lawn Maintenance tips.

  For more Seasonal Turf Tips Click here.